Lindsey Graham on Kentucky Clerk: We Can’t ‘Pick and Choose the Laws We Like’

By Melanie Arter | September 4, 2015 | 10:51am EDT
Rowan County clerk Kim Davis (AP Photo)

( – GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Thursday that a Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to comply with a judge’s orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples “can’t pick and choose” the laws she likes.

“I believe in traditional marriage, but she’s a public official. We can’t on the Republican side do what Obama’s been doing – pick and choose the laws we like – so in my view, she will be required by the federal courts to issue marriage license, because that is what’s required in our constitutional democracy – that this Supreme Court case is binding on her actions as a public official in Kentucky,” said Graham.

On Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge David Bunning sent Rowan County clerk Kim Davis to jail after she refused to comply with his order to issue marriage licenses that violate her religious beliefs.

Andrea Mitchell, host of “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” asked Graham on Thursday, “I want to ask you about Kentucky where right now Kim Davis, the county clerk is in court. Mike Huckabee, one of your competitors said on ‘Morning Joe’ today to Joe Scarborough that she has every right to do that, because what the Supreme Court ruled isn’t really the law, that there’s no statute involved in approving gay marriages.

“The way I read the Constitution and the way Joe Scarborough certainly did, until you are elected or someone else is elected and the Supreme Court changes its mind, that’s the law of the land, is it not?” Mitchell asked.

“Marbury vs. Madison said it’s the job of the Supreme Court, the Judiciary to interpret the Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled 5 to 4 that same-sex marriage bans imposed by states violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution,” said Graham. “It is the law of the land until the Supreme Court changes their decision or there’s a constitutional amendment overriding that decision.

“This clerk, I understand her concerns,” he said, adding that while he also believes in traditional marriage, Davis should follow the law as interpreted by the high court or she would be just like President Barack Obama by picking and choosing which laws she wants to follow.

“I sympathize with her religious beliefs, but she’s a public official, and those of us in public life have to administer the law to every American as the law is written,” Graham said.

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