Ted Cruz slammed the decision by a federal judge to order a Kentucky county clerk to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the basis of her Christian faith, labeling it un-American.
"Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny," the Republican presidential candidate said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America."
Cruz declared that he stands with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis "unequivocally" for refraining from issuing any marriage licenses in the more than two-month period since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.
"I stand with every American that the Obama administration is trying to force to choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion," the Texas senator said, citing dissents in the June 26 court opinion.
Cruz labeled those calling for Davis’s resignation "hypocritical" for not demanding the same of lawmakers who support policies that bolster illegal immigration, including President Obama.
"Where is the call for the mayor of San Francisco to resign for creating a sanctuary city—resulting in the murder of American citizens by criminal illegal aliens welcomed by his lawlessness?" Cruz asked. "Where is the call for President Obama to resign for ignoring and defying our immigration laws, our welfare reform laws, and even his own Obamacare?
He accused those criticizing the county clerk of holding the belief that Christians "should not serve in public office."
"Kim Davis should not be in jail. We are a country founded on Judeo-Christian values, founded by those fleeing religious oppression and seeking a land where we could worship God and live according to our faith, without being imprisoned for doing so," Cruz concluded, calling upon individuals governed by faith and loyalty to the Constitution to express support for Davis and "stop the persecution."
Several Republican presidential candidates have responded to news of Davis’ jailing, Gov. Mike Huckabee writing on Twitter that "exercising religious liberty should never be a crime in America." Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum labeled Davis’ action "heroic."
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton stood by the federal judge’s decision Thursday, writing on social media, "Marriage equality is the law of the land. Officials should be held to their duty to uphold the law—end of story."
Clinton is currently entangled in an FBI investigation into whether or not she knowingly sent or received classified information on her private email server.
After Davis was sent to jail, Rowan County issued its first marriage license to a gay couple Friday morning.