Kim Davis, the conservative Kentucky county clerk jailed last summer after she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, has received an invitation to President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday, according to several media reports. Davis, who will be joined by her attorney Mat Staver, was offered a seat in the House gallery, the Washington Examiner first reported.
The Family Research Council, a conservative group that opposes gay rights, reportedly arranged for Davis to attend the State of the Union in response to the president’s invitation to James Obergefell, the plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that declared same-sex marriage a nationwide constitutional right in June. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, has described Davis as "the face of the opposition” to the ruling among U.S. religious conservatives, according to the Examiner.
The Rowan County clerk was briefly jailed for contempt of court in September after refusing to issue marriage licenses despite a judge’s order that she do so in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The historic 5-4 ruling said states cannot sanction the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
When Davis said her Apostolic Christian faith forbade her to grant the marriage licenses, she sparked a national debate about public officials’ conscientious objections to the law. At the time, the White House weighed, saying "there is no public official that is above the rule of law."
Davis visited Washington last fall, when it was revealed that she secretly met with Pope Francis during his six-day visit to the U.S. Davis attended an event for the Family Research Council Monday night, The Hill reported.
The State of the Union address is scheduled for Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EST. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will deliver the Republican rebuttal following Obama’s speech.