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#ImWithKim: Huckabee, Cruz back county clerk in 'religious liberty' battle

Two presidential hopefuls campaigning for the Republican nomination are defending a Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt this week after refusing to follow a federal judge's orders to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Kim Davis was jailed for contempt for refusing to issue wedding licences to same-sex couples

Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, left, and Ted Cruz, right, have come out in defence of Kim Davis, a county clerk who has been jailed for contempt after refusing to follow a judge's orders to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Two presidential hopefuls campaigning for the Republican nomination are defending a Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt this week after refusing to follow a federal judge's orders to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Kim Davis, the county clerk, refused to co-operate with a judge's ruling to hand out the licences because she says "God's moral law conflicts with my job duties."

U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who jailed her, reasoned that "her good faith belief is simply not a viable defence."

But two possible future presidents, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Senator Ted Cruz, disagree. They have declared #ImWithKim in what they deem a battle for religious liberty.

#ReligiousLiberty defence

Huckabee wrote an open letter on his campaign site calling for Davis's release that his supporters and others can co-sign.

The letter, which is addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Judge Bunning, calls for Davis's immediate release.

"Exercising religious liberty should never be a crime in America. This is a direct attack on our God-given, constitutional rights," the letter signed by Huckabee reads.

He took to Twitter to promote the letter and his stance on Davis's incarceration. 

He said the judge's decision to jail Davis "removes all doubts about the criminalization of Christianity" in the U.S. and called on others to "defend #ReligiousLiberty!"

He wondered who might be jailed next for refusing service to same-sex couples. "Pastors? Photogs? Caterers? Florists?" he asked.

The decision "undermines the Constitution" and the "fundamental right" of religious liberty," he wrote.

Judges, Huckabee believes, "cannot make law. They can only make ruilngs."

His Twitter rant may be no surprise to supporters. Huckabee, who lists family values on his website as a campaign issues, believes in what he calls "traditional marriage."

"I may stand alone, but I am absolutely faithful to the issue of marriage. Not because it's politically expedient, but because it's the Biblical position, the historical position and the right position. We must defend, protect and preserve traditional marriage," he wrote on his site.

Cruz's historical flub

One of his opponents in the race for the Republican nomination, Cruz, also publicly defended Davis.

On Thursday, Cruz gave a speech at the Nathaniel Center for Cultural and Biblical Education in Kingwood, Texas. Christopher Hooks, a journalist with the Texas Observer, captured some of his controversial comments about Davis during that speech.

"Today for the first time in history a Christian woman was put in jail for standing up for her beliefs," Cruz said.

It didn't take much effort to fact check that statement. Many people on Twitter quickly pointed out prominent examples of Christian women jailed for standing up for their beliefs before Davis.

Women like Rosa Parks.

Or Joan of Arc (who was executed by being burned alive on a stake).

Not to be outdone by Huckabee, Cruz also penned an open letter on his site and called "upon every believer, every constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis."

In the letter, he re-iterated his historical flub.

"Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith," he wrote. "This is wrong. This is not America."

He tweeted a link to the letter multiple times, including once with a video of his appearance on The Kelly File defending Davis.

In the video, he calls the situation "an outrage."

Calls for Obama to resign

Cruz and Huckabee both also called for multiple other leaders to resign or be jailed.

Huckabee wondered why Hillary Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential race, hasn't been jailed.

As well as San Francisco government officials.

Cruz called on the nation's leader to resign.

Online backlash

Many people did not take kindly to their public support of the county clerk, who they said was not being persecuted for her religious beliefs but rather for breaking the law by not issuing marriage licences after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

With files from the Associated Press

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