Fox News host Shepard Smith has angered conservatives after he slammed Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and her supporters, calling her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples "religious play" that does not belong in government service.
As reported by the Gospel Herald, Davis was released from jail on Tuesday after a judge held her in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses as a county clerk in compliance with the Supreme Court's decision in June legalizing same-sex marriage in all U.S. states.
On Tuesday, Smith cut into his own press conference coverage of Davis' story to compare her supporters - including Mike Huckabee and Franklin Graham - to those who oppose Sharia law: "They set this up as a religious play again," he said, Mediaite reports. "This is the same crowd that says, 'We don't want Sharia law, don't let them tell us what to do, keep their religion out of our lives and out of our government.' Well, here we go again."
"When this started, this lawyer said he needed an accommodation for a woman who wanted one. She said she didn't want her name on a license for gay people," the 51-year-old anchor said. "Now they've come up with one, they've let her out of jail... But it's not what they want."
"This is what they want, what you're hearing now and this what they're going to get: stirred up argument and a couple of days in the news cycle, and they're going to be able to make these claims," he charged.
Before she was escorted to jail, Davis told the judge that the she refused to issue the marriage licenses not out of hate, but because the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage conflicted with the vows she made when she became a born-again Christian.
"I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home," she said. "God's moral law conflicts with my job duties. You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul."
Continuing his comments on Tuesday, Smith argued the Supreme Court had already ruled on the issue of gay marriage, meaning the issue is settled. "This is not unprecedented. They did it when they said black and white people couldn't marry."
He concluded, "Haters are going to hate. We thought what this woman wanted was an accommodation, which they've granted her, something that worked for everybody. But it's not what they want."
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaide hit back at Smith, saying he clearly does "not understand the difference between Christianity, a foundation of the American system that protects religious rights and liberty, and Islam, an authoritarian religion which wants to impose its values on others."
He added that Smith's comments are evidence of "anti-Christian bias that has been rearing its ugly head" on Fox News, and expressed dismay that the typically conservative news outlet broke its promise to air "fair and balanced" coverage of the issue.
"With his reckless comments, Smith, regularly featured by Out magazine as a powerful homosexual media personality, has embarrassed his channel and turned himself into a liability with the channel's conservative viewers. He has completely dropped any pretense of objectivity on his show, by apparently taking it personally that many people find the gay lifestyle to be morally repugnant," he wrote.
Speaking to OneNewsNow, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality called Smith's comments "snide" and "rude."
He compared Smith's biased comments to that of Univision's Jorge Ramos, who has insisted he is a reporter while advocating for illegal immigration.
"I thought I was watching MSNBC, not Fox News," LaBarbera said.