A Vatican ambassador, who arranged Pope Francis’ meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, received a standing ovation from U.S. Roman Catholic bishops at an annual assembly Monday. Francis met Davis, who refused marriage licenses to gay couple citing her religious beliefs, during his first visit to the U.S. in September.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who fixed Francis and Davis’ controversial meeting, addressed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In his speech Monday, Vigano told the bishops to continue working to "preserve a moral order in society" and said they should not "fall prey" to "secularized and increasingly pagan" practices, the Associated Press reported.
Vigano invited Davis to meet the pontiff in the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C. Davis’ lawyer Mat Staver announced the Rowan County clerk’s meeting with Francis and said the pope thanked her for her “courage” and told her to “stay strong.” However, the Vatican clarified that Davis was among several people who greeted the pope and their meeting was not in support to her stance.
Davis grabbed nationwide attention after she denied homosexual couples their marriage licenses even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country. She was also sent to jail in September after being found in contempt of court.
After her five-day stint in jail, a judge ordered Davis to avoid interfering with the work of her deputies who began issuing licenses to gay couples. In September, a lawyer for one of Davis’ deputy clerks said that the 50-year-old Apostolic Christian changed the marriage licenses weakening their legality. Davis was accused of having removed her name, the county’s name, and references to deputy clerks from marriage license forms.
Earlier this month, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed Davis’ plea for a reprieve after her attorney argued that a district judge’s order told her to issue licenses only to four gay couples, who had sued her for denying marriage licenses. U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who issued the mandate, had clarified previously that the order prevailed to all couples, not just the four who sued Davis.