Kim Davis is now a gay rights hero. I guess when people saw videos of couples being turned away (rudely) when applying for marriage licenses, it struck a nerve with the public according to these poll results. The right was hoping that Kim Davis's "plight" would inspire a backlash against gay rights and renew a push for protections for religious bigotry. It seems as though the backlash backfired on them, even amongst Republicans. Nice try.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Linda Massey opposes gay marriage. But she was incensed last summer to see that Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, was refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
"If the government says you have to give out those marriage licenses, and you get paid to do it, you do it," says the 64-year-old retiree from Lewiston, Michigan. "That woman," she said of Davis, "should be out of a job."
Americans like Massey are at the heart of a shift in public opinion, an Associated Press-GfK poll has found. For the first time, most Americans expect government officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even over religious objections.
The question in recent months has entangled leaders with political sway, among them Pope Francis and the 2016 presidential contenders. But it's not a new conflict for a nation that has long wrestled with the separation of church and state.
Where Davis's answer was the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom — and she served jail time to back it up — a majority of respondents don't buy that argument when it comes to public officials issuing marriage licenses. That's a shift since an AP-GfK survey in July, when Americans were about evenly split.
Then, 49 percent said officials with religious objections should be exempt from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and 47 percent said they should be required to issue them.
Now, just 41 percent favor an exemption and 56 percent think they should be required to issue the licenses.
That shift was especially stark among Republicans. A majority of them —58 percent — still favor religious exemptions for officials issuing marriage licenses, but that's down 14 points since 72 percent said so in July.