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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum argued on Wednesday that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' persecution for being a Christian was similar to shooting victims of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

"Sixteen years ago this country was tremendously inspired by a young woman who faced a gunman in Columbine and was challenged about her faith and she refused to deny God," Santorum explained during the CNN presidential debate. "We saw her as a hero."

"Today, someone who refuses to defy a judge's unconstitutional verdict is ridiculed and criticized, chastised because she's standing up and not denying her God and her faith," he opined. "That is a huge difference in 16 years."

"How many bakers, how many pastors, how many florists, how many pastors, how many clerks are we going to throw in jail?"

According to Santorum, the country needed to elect a president who would "fight" the Supreme Court "when it exceeds its constitutional authority."

But that didn't sit well with former New York Gov. George Pataki.

"My response is kind of wow," he replied. "We're going to have a president who defies the Supreme Court?"

"I hope so!" Santorum exclaimed. "Martin Luther King wrote a letter from the Birmingham Jail. And he said in that letter that there are just laws and there are unjust laws. And we have no obligation to condone and accept unjust laws."

Pataki pointed out that King had been a private citizen while Davis was an elected official.

"It was civil disobedience where what he was willing to do is voluntarily go to jail with his followers to send a message to the elected representatives that these laws were wrong and had to be changed," Pataki argued. "And because of his courage, we didn't ignore the courts. We change the laws and made America a better place."

"That's the way to do it."