AP / Timothy D. Easley
Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk slogging through a legal battle over denying marriage licenses and an emerging icon of the far right, will attend President Obama’s Tuesday night State of the Union address, her lawyers said Tuesday. But the Christian advocacy law firm that represents Davis refused to say who invited her and her lawyer, Mat Staver.
"We are not publicizing what Congressmen invited Kim and Mat," Charla Bansley, a spokeswoman, told BuzzFeed News.
Several government sources in Washington, D.C., did not have any ideas when asked by BuzzFeed News.
Rep. David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island, on Twitter said Davis’s "invite is an insult to every LGBT American."
A press release from Davis’s lawyers Tuesday morning trumpeted the pair’s attendance as an affront to an administration that has been hostile to people who oppose LGBT rights on religious grounds.
"While the President will be extolling his ‘accomplishments’ of the last seven years, Kim Davis and Mat Staver will be a visible reminder of the Administration’s attack on religious liberty and an encouragement for people of faith to stand," the announcement said.
In contrast to Davis, Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the court case that led the Supreme Court ‘s marriage equality ruling, will be sitting by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Davis’s stratospheric rise to national fame came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that state bans on same-sex marriage violated the Constitution. Davis responded by refusing to issue a marriage license to anyone — claiming that her name appearing on the licenses of same-sex couples infringed on her religious liberty.
Elected as the Rowan County Clerk, Davis was soon jailed for disobeying a federal court order to issue the marriage licenses, making her a martyr and cause célèbre for anti-LGBT-rights activists and politicians. Davis met with Pope Francis after her release, but Davis and Liberty Counsel — a self-proclaimed Christian ministry — never produced evidence for their repeated claim that Davis and pope had met privately.
Liberty Counsel was elevated to notoriety along with Davis’s case, and it used the invitation to the president’s congressional address Tuesday to grind an axe on a wide range of conservative causes.
"The Obama Administration has trampled religious liberty over and over," the press release said, "including denying applications for tax-free status to conservative organizations, requiring Christian-owned businesses and nonprofits to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, opposing the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have protected the religious rights of our military, and supporting same-sex marriage, just to name a few."
Kentucky voters elected a Republican governor who issued an executive order stating that county clerks need not include their name on marriage licenses, but the case against Davis is proceeding in federal court. A federal appellate court and the Supreme Court had refused to intervene in summer.