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Vatican Confirms Pope Met Kentucky Court Clerk

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met last week with the controversial U.S. court clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kim Davis, the elected court clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, told ABC News that she and her husband met the pope briefly last Thursday at the Vatican Embassy in Washington during the midst of the pontiff's trip to Cuba and three U.S. cities.

She said Pope Francis presented her and her husband with two rosaries, thanked her for her courage and urged her to "stay strong."

Jail time

Davis was jailed for six days earlier this month for defying a federal judge's order to issue the marriage licenses. Citing her Christian beliefs, she refused to issue marriage licenses to either straight or gay couples, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the United States.

"Who am I to have this rare opportunity?" Davis said in a statement released earlier by Liberty Counsel, the conservative law firm that represents her. "I am just a county clerk who loves Jesus and desires with all my heart to serve him."

Davis was in the nation's capital to receive an award from the Family Research Council, another prominent conservative group, for defying the federal judge's order.

FILE - Pope Francis delivers remarks in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
FILE - Pope Francis delivers remarks in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

15-minute meeting

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed the pope's 15-minute meeting with Davis, but offered no other details.

Monday, during his return trip to Rome, Pope Francis was asked specifically about Davis's case. The pontiff responded that conscientious objection is a right that belongs to everyone.