Oath Keepers offered on Thursday to protect county clerk Kim Davis from "illegal imprisonment" by government authorities, and the group said it is already on the ground in Kentucky, standing ready to take action.
In a post on its website, Oath Keepers, a group that bills itself
as a non-partisan organization pledging to defend the Constitution, accused a federal court judge of overstepping his bounds by putting Davis in jail. Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her religious freedom as the reason she failed to follow the law. She was imprisoned last week for five days before finally being released on Tuesday.
"We would like to stress in the strongest terms possible that we are doing this not because of her views on gay marriage, but because she is an elected public servant who has been illegally arrested and held without due process," Oath Keepers' Jason Van Tatenhove wrote on the website.
The group's founder, Stewart Rhodes, a Yale Law School graduate, said on the website that Judge David Bunning "is violating the Constitution in his anger and desire to punish her for going against his will."
"We are already being subjected to an unconstitutional imperial presidency, that grew exponentially under both Bush and Obama, expanding the claimed war powers of the president to swallow up our Bill of Rights and circumvent jury trial," Rhodes said. "The result is an executive branch that claims the absurd power to declare any American an 'unlawful combatant' on the say-so of the president alone.'"
The announcement was greeted online with responses that ran the gamut of political leanings, but many focused on the situation's irony:
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