Clerk Kim Davis Must Pay $260,000 Legal Fees Over Same-Sex Marriage License Refusal

Kim Davis, the former county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses in Kentucky to same-sex couples, must pay a total of $260,104 in fees and expenses to attorneys who represented one couple, according to a federal judge’s ruling.

That is in addition to $100,000 in damages a jury said the former Rowan county clerk should pay the couple who sued.

Attorneys for Davis had argued that the fees and costs sought by the attorneys were excessive, but US district judge David L Bunning disagreed and said Davis must pay since the men prevailed in their lawsuit, the Lexington Herald-Leader of Kentucky reported.

She is expected to appeal.


Shortly after the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling granted same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide, David Ermold and David Moore tried to get a marriage license when Davis was the Rowan County clerk. Davis refused and said she wouldn’t do it because it was a violation of her religious rights. The story gained national attention and led to lawsuits against her, with a judge later ordering Davis to issue the licenses. She spent five days in jail for being found in contempt of court after refusing to do so.

Davis had argued that a legal doctrine called qualified immunity shielded her from being held liable, the plaintiffs argued that Davis had violated their constitutional rights, and their right to marry was clearly established at the time of Davis’s violation, and therefore, Davis was not entitled to qualified immunity.

The court said her decision not to issue marriage licenses “further illustrates that she knowingly violated the law.” The ruling also states, “Davis ‘chose to stand for what [she] believe[s] in over what was contrary to that’—the law.”

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