LGBT Rights

Federal judge rules Kim Davis must go to trial for denying gay couples marriage licenses

A federal judge in Kentucky ruled this Friday that former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis violated the constitutional rights of two same-sex couples when she refused to give them marriage licenses back in 2015, arguing that their relationships were a violation of God’s teachings.

United States District Judge David L. Bunning granted summary judgment in a civil lawsuit that the two couples, David Ermold and David Moore, and James Yates and Will Smith, filed against Davis, WKYT reports. Due to Bunning’s ruling, the couples’ quest for damages will now be heard by a jury. The couples are asking for compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and attorneys’ fees, according to WKYT’s report.

“The plaintiffs could not be more happy,” Michael Gartland, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told WKYT. “As the court notes in the decision, this case has been pending since 2015. They couldn’t be more happy that they’re finally going to get their day in court and they’re confident justice will be served.”

Davis said she acted “under God’s authority” when she  “famously refused to comply with Obergefell, which required her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” the judge’s order read.

Ermold and Moore were denied marriage licenses three times, and Yates and Smith were denied four times. The couples were subsequently granted marriage licenses by a deputy clerk while Davis spent five days in jail for contempt of court. The couples’ lawsuits say Davis’ actions caused “mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation and reputation damages.”

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