After five days behind bars, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was ordered released from jail Tuesday by the judge who locked her up for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in the Kentucky county.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order but directed Davis not to interfere with the granting of licenses by her deputies.
The move came down just before Davis was to receive jailhouse visits from presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz.
Davis was thrown in jail on Thursday, becoming a hero among religious conservatives for the boldest act of resistance by a public official yet to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that legalized gay marriage across the nation.
Outside the jail where Davis was held, word spread slowly through a crowd of supporters in the afternoon, and some said they couldn't believe the news.
Davis, an apostolic Christian, says that gay marriage is a sin and that it would be against her conscience to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.