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Judge rules state must pay $225K for Kentucky county clerk's defiance

Kim Davis refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses due to her religious beliefs, but judge rules she was acting on behalf of the state

Judge rules state must pay $225K for Kentucky county clerk's defiance
KIm Davis

Remember Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples just hours after the US Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriages nationwide?

Her actions have cost Kentucky taxpayers almost $225,000 (€193,000; £173,000).

A federal judge has ordered the state of Kentucky to pay $222,695 (€190,972; £171,369) in attorney’s fees for the four couples who sued Davis, plus $2,008 (€1,721; £1,545) in court costs.

The Associated Press reported that US District Judge David Bunning ruled Kim Davis, in her capacity as Rowan County Clerk, was acting on behalf of the state government when she refused to issue those marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis said her personal religious beliefs prevented her from signing the licenses. But the judge said neither Davis nor the Rowan County government are liable. The state is.

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling was announced on 26 June 2015, Davis refused to put her signature on the same-sex couples’ marriage licenses.

Quickly, the town of Morehead, in northeastern Kentucky, came into the national spotlight as a result of her defiance.

Davis quit issuing marriage licenses to any couples — same sex or opposite sex. A judge ordered her to issue the licenses, but she still refused, preferring to go to jail for five days.

Davis’s office finally resolved the issue by modifying its marriage licenses so that her name was not included. Davis said that satisfied her concerns.

A year later, Kentucky passed a law removing the names of county clerks from marriage license in all the state’s counties.

William Sharp, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky, said he was pleased with the ruling.

Sharpe said it should serve as a reminder to Kentucky officials that ‘willful violations of individuals’ civil liberties … will not only be challenged but will also prove costly,’ the AP reported.

Sharpe said he regretted that the taxpayers will have to foot the bill, but reminded that Davis was an elected official.

Even though she is not liable to pay the fees, Davis still officially lost the case. An attorney for Davis said she would appeal.

Here’s a video of same-sex couples trying to get a license from Davis:




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