Former Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Ordered to Pay Additional $260K to Gay Couple
This ruling comes almost 10 years after Davis refused to grant David Ermold and David Moore their right to matrimony based on her religious objections.
The legal saga began when Davis, serving as the Rowan County clerk, defied the Supreme Court's 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. Despite the landmark ruling, she refused to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples, leading both couples, including Ermold and Moore, to file lawsuits against her.
The recent decision by US District Judge David Bunning, the same judge who sentenced Davis to jail in 2015, stems from the couple's victory in their lawsuit against her. Bunning stated that Ermold and Moore sought to vindicate their fundamental right to marry and obtain marriage licenses, and they succeeded in doing so.
In September, a federal jury had already awarded the couple $100,000 over Davis's refusal in 2015. The recent ruling adds an additional financial burden on Davis in the form of attorney fees and expenses. Michael Gartland, representing Ermold and Moore, expressed satisfaction, stating, "We got every last penny that we asked for."
Liberty Counsel, a religious liberty organization representing Davis, argued that the fees were excessive. The organization plans to appeal the ruling. If the motion is denied, Liberty Counsel intends to appeal the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The legal battles surrounding Davis's actions highlight the clash between religious freedom and LGBTQ rights. Davis, an evangelical Christian, justified her refusal by citing her belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Her stance led to a five-day jail sentence for contempt of court, as she was found guilty of violating the constitutional rights of the same-sex couples.
The case drew widespread media attention and even became the subject of parody on an episode of "Saturday Night Live." Davis was voted out of her clerk position in 2018, and her legal woes continue to underscore the complex intersection of personal beliefs, public duties, and the evolving landscape of LGBTQ rights in the United States.