Most Americans support the decision to jail Kim Davis, but also think that religious liberty is under threat in the US
Kim Davis was released from jail yesterday after the federal judge who had initially put her behind bars for contempt of court decided that her office was now fulfilling its obligation to issue licenses to "all legally eligible couples". In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that same sex couples have a legal right to marry, Kim Davis, the clerk for Rowan County in Kentucky, had been refusing to issue licenses. Her deputies began to issue licenses to same-sex couples after she was jailed. The judge has made clear, however, that if she once again interferes with the issuing of marriage licenses she risks being jailed once again.
YouGov's latest research shows that most Americans (56%) support the decision of the federal judge to jail her for contempt of court. 31% of Americans oppose the decision to jail her.
Support for the decision is particularly high among Democrats (72%) but independents also tend to support the decision (50% to 32%). Even Republicans, who are largely opposed to same sex marriage, are divided right down the middle with 42% agreeing with the decision to jail Kim Davis and 42% opposed to it.
Despite widespread support for the decision to jail Kim Davis and the belief that public officials should obey the law regardless of their religious beliefs, most Americans (53%) say that they believe religious liberty is being threatened in America today. Most Republicans (81%) and independents (55%) agree that religious liberty is threatened, but even a third of Democrats (33%) think that religious liberty is under threat.
Asked what Kim Davis should do, two-thirds of Americans (65%) say that she should resign her office. 23% of Americans believe she should stay in office and refuse to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples, while 4% would ideally see her keep her job but begin issuing licenses to everyone who is legally entitled to one.