Speed Reads

CNN Republican Debate

George Pataki, Rick Santorum spar over Kim Davis during debate

During CNN's early Republican debate, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former New York Gov. George Pataki clashed over Kim Davis and whether the Kentucky clerk should have been fired for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

After Pataki said he would fire Davis for defying a judge's order to issue the licenses, Santorum invoked Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," saying: "We have no obligation to condone and accept unjust laws. I would argue that what the Supreme Court did is against natural law [and] it's against God's law." Pataki fired back that if the president defies the Supreme Court because he doesn't agree with a decision, "then you don't have a rule of law."

He added, "There's a huge difference between a person saying, 'I will stand for my religious rights.' ...I applaud that, you should be able to engage in religious belief. But as an elected official, you take an oath of office to obey the law, all the laws. You cannot pick and choose."

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal jumped in to ask if "the left would give us a list of jobs Christians are allowed to have." Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) said that the decision is "the law as it is right now" and switched gears to talk about terrorism: "Whether you're the wedding cake baker or gay couple or Baptist preacher, radical Islam would kill you all if it could. Let's not lose sight of the big picture here."