Former Rowan County clerk Kim Davis made waves in the U.S. when news spread that she would be embarking on a nine-day speaking tour to lobby against same-sex marriage in Romania.
But according to local LGBTQ activists, her reception has been pretty muted.
“People in Romania don’t know who Kim Davis is, so they haven’t picked up on the story,” Vlad Viski, president of the advocacy organization MozaiQ, tells INTO in an interview. “LGBTQ groups have kept quiet about her visit because we don’t want to make her into more of a celebrity than she really is.”
Davis, who was jailed for five days in 2015 for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, spoke in Bucharest on Thursday night on behalf of Liberty Counsel. The Orlando-based law firm, which has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is lobbying in favor of a plebiscite that would ban LGBTQ couples from marrying. A bill that would put marriage equality up to a public referendum has passed the lower house of Romania’s Parliament. It awaits a vote in the Senate.
Viski was not able to comment on the content of Davis’ Bucharest speech, but she has already spoken at several libraries and churches in the largely Eastern Orthodox country. He claimed that the Kentucky clerk has been “presented like a martyr.”
“[Davis] came and cried at all of her conferences,” the 29-year-old activist claims. “She said that she was humiliated because of her belief in God. She talks about good and evil, and how nowadays evil is considered good and good is considered evil. She said that she has gay and lesbian friends, trying to appeal to this idea that her message is not hateful.”
Viski adds that Liberty Counsel has referred to her as a “prisoner of conscience” during her speaking engagements.
The Florida firm, who defended Davis in court, has become increasingly involved in Romania’s same-sex marriage debate in recent years. Since 2007, right-wing organizations from the U.S. have been attempting to push for a constitutional amendment limiting the definition of marriage to one man and one woman. A previous attempt failed in 2013.
But they were finally able to gain enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot this year: More than 3 million people signed onto a petition from Coalition for the Family. That’s 15 percent of Romania’s overall population. Read more via Into