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Kentucky Governor’s attorneys: Kim Davis owes $225K after violating civil rights of gay couples

Attorneys for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin say former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis violated the civil rights of same-sex couples who she denied marriage licenses and is now on the hook for $225,000 in legal fees.

The attorneys’ announcement comes in spite of Bevin’s past adulatory words for Davis.

“I think Kim Davis is, without question, an inspiration, not only to leaders like myself, people in the public arena and those outside the public arena, but to my children, to the children of America,” Bevin said in a video posted by the Liberty Counsel last year. The Liberty Counsel is the law firm that represented Davis.

Davis made headlines in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples when she was county clerk, saying to do so would violate her Christian beliefs. Davis’s actions came in spite of the fact that the Supreme Court had previously ruled gay marriage to be the law of the land.

In 2017, a district court ruled that couples who were denied marriage licenses won their cases decisively and the state was obligated to reimburse their legal fees. But Bevin’s office appealed the ruling and said that the financial responsibility should fall solely on Davis.

“Her local policy stood in direct conflict with her statutory obligation to issue marriage licenses to qualified Kentucky couples. The local policy also undermined the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s interest in upholding the rule of law,” Bevin attorney Palmer G. Vance II stated, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

“Davis had an independent and sworn duty to uphold the law as an elected county officer,” Vance continued. “If fees are awarded, they must be the responsibility of the Rowan County clerk’s office, which should be deterred from engaging in conduct that violates civil rights — and leads to costly litigation.”

From the Lexington Herald Leader:

At issue are the litigation expenses for eight people who sued Davis for refusing to grant them marriage licenses: April Miller, Karen Ann Roberts, Shantel Burke, Stephen Napier, Jody Fernandez, Kevin Holloway, L. Aaron Skaggs and Barry W. Spartman.

Last November, Davis lost her bid to be reelected as Rowan County Clerk.

This coming Thursday, a three-judge panel will hear arguments about who should bear the case’s expenses.

Featured image via Carter County Detention Center

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