Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed over her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, has been released. On Tuesday afternoon, U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted Davis’s contempt-of-court charge. Bunning explained that he had decided to free Davis because five of her six deputies have been granting same-sex marriages in her absence, thereby “fulfilling [Rowan County’s] obligation” to serve “all legally eligible couples.” Bunning warned Davis not to “interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples” and requested that he be updated on the deputies’ activities every two weeks.
The announcement came just in time for GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz’s and Mike Huckabee’s scheduled jailhouse meetings with Davis, which resulted in these photos (the guy in the hat is Davis’s second and fourth husband, Joe):
“All has been well,” Davis told the supporters and journalists waiting for her outside. (She walked onstage to “Eye of the Tiger.”) Meanwhile, her lawyer, Mat Staver, declined to say whether his client would follow Judge Bunning’s order to cease meddling in the affairs of Rowan County’s consenting adults: “Kim cannot and will not violate her conscience,” he said. But don’t worry about Davis getting locked up again: Huckabee told the crowd, “If somebody needs to go to jail, I’m willing to go in her place,” because the law is malleable like that.
This post has been updated throughout.