Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk locked up for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, was released from jail on Tuesday -- as her case also drew the personal attention of two presidential candidates.
Davis was greeted by a crowd of singing and cheering supporters as she exited the jail. They sang "Amazing Grace" and "God Bless America," as her attorney vowed Davis would be back to work "this week."
The order for her release came from U.S. District Judge David Bunning, the same judge who initially jailed the Rowan County clerk last Thursday on a contempt of court charge. But Bunning lifted that order Tuesday. He said the court is "satisfied" that since last week, the clerk's office has been issuing marriage licenses "to all legally eligible couples" -- those licenses have been handled by Davis' deputy clerks.
At the same time, Bunning directed Davis not to "interfere in any way" with the marriage licenses now being issued by her office.
"If Defendant Davis should interfere in any way with their issuance, that will be considered a violation of this Order and appropriate sanctions will be considered," he said in the order. Bunning is the son of former Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning.
Her legal counsel did not say whether Davis had any intention to defy the courts.
Rather, attorney Mat Staver said: "She loves God, she loves people, she loves her work -- and she will not betray any of those three."
He said Davis will not violate her "conscience," and said the court order "did not resolve the underlying issue." He reiterated Davis' request for an "accommodation" to remove her name from gay marriage certificates. "Kim still is asking for that today," he said.
Davis later took the stage at a rally outside the jail, crying as the crowd cheered. "Thank you all so much, I love you all so very much," she said.
The decision from Bunning came down just before Davis received jailhouse visits from Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz. They were ushered into the building shortly after the judge's order was issued, as was Davis' husband, Joe Davis.
"She was willing to go to jail for what she believed," Huckabee said, as he accompanied Davis and her attorney out of the jail. He also tweeted:
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 8, 2015
Davis' stand has become a political lightning rod in the 2016 race, rallying social conservatives while drawing the scorn of Democrats; some Republican presidential candidates also have suggested she went too far in refusing marriage licenses.
But 2016 candidates like Cruz and Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, have used her case to highlight the issue of religious freedom and reach out to evangelical Christians.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.