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Pope Francis says Kim Davis has a right to refuse to issue marriage licenses

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The Pope and Cuban President meet at the Palace of the Revolution Sunday in Havana.

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — On his way back to Rome, Pope Francis was asked about the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for several days after she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite the Supreme Court’s ruling making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

Davis claims such marriages violate her Apostolic Christian faith.

Pope Francis said he didn’t know the case in detail, but he upheld conscientious objection as a human right.

“It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right,” Francis said.

NBC News asked if this principle applied to government officials carrying out their duties, he replied: “It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.”

“Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying: ‘This right has merit, this one does not,’” Francis said.

Davis, who said she found religion after several failed marriages, claims she is fighting to make sure government officials with religious objections are protected under the law.