Pope Francis made news even while flying home to Rome after his US visit, weighing in on the issue of gay marriage with comments sure to please Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis. Asked whether government employees should be allowed to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the pope said yes, reports NBC News. "Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right," said Francis, who did not mention the Davis case in particular. "It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right." Pressed on whether the principle does indeed apply to government workers, he elaborated: "It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right."
The comments will surely be seen as a boon for Davis—see the headline in the Huffington Post declaring that "The Pope Just Handed Kim Davis a Huge Win," for example. The Guardian has a more nuanced view, observing that "the remarks about conscientious objectors seem to reflect Francis’s views on the importance of religious freedom, rather than gay marriage specifically." In his hourlong talk with reporters, Francis also repeated his condemnation of abusive priests, reports Reuters. The victim "is crushed by evil and this is nearly a sacrilege because the priest has betrayed his vocation, the calling of the Lord." (Click for one columnist's reasoning as to why Davis should never have gone to jail.)