This past Thursday, oral arguments began in the Sixth Court of Appeals that partly dealt with a legal brief filed last year by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin‘s legal team, which says that former Rowan County clerk Kim Davis should pay the legal costs of the string of court losses that resulted from her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples during her time as county clerk.
“Any fees awarded to [the plaintiffs] cannot be imposed against the ‘Commonwealth of Kentucky,’” Bevin’s lawyers wrote, according to Rolling Stone. “If the plaintiffs prevailed, they did so against Davis individually or in her official capacity as Rowan County Clerk. Davis unilaterally defied existing law when she created a ‘no marriage licenses’ policy for Rowan County,” the brief continues, adding: “the Rowan County Clerk’s office must be liable for any award of fees arising from her policy.”
From Rolling Stone:
Despite the court brief filed on behalf of “Matthew G. Bevin, in His Official Capacity as Governor of Kentucky” declaring Davist to be liable, Bevin insists he still personally supports Davis. The governor has sought to blame his lawyers for attempting to stick her with the legal bill. A spokesperson for Bevin called the attorneys “outside counsel retained by the Beshear administration” — referring to Bevin’s Democratic predecessor Steve Beshear — and argued: “if constitutional rights were violated, the taxpayers of Kentucky are not responsible to pay the ACLU’s attorney fees.”
But Davis wants the people of Kentucky to foot the bill. Responding with her own legal brief, her lawyers argued that “the Commonwealth is liable” for the $225,000 in court fees that came from her conscious actions that broke the law.
Davis’s team added that she shouldn’t be held liable because she “acted as a state official for purposes of marriage licensing.”
It’s an odd stance to take, considering that Davis used her religious faith to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses, even though the Supreme Court had previously ruled gay marriage to be the law of the land. If her legal team’s logic prevails, the taxpayer would end up paying for her voluntary decision to bring her religion into a space where the separation between church and state is front and center.
Either way, it’s a pathetic end to Davis’s attempt to do the Lord’s work by way of her government office. During the height of her crusade, she was asked whose authority she was relying on to deny couples their civil rights. “God’s authority,” she shot back. Regardless the outcome of these latest legal maneuverings, it’s clear that God is either in favor of gay marriage or he’s powerless to stop it.
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