Kentucky clerk Kim Davis caught the nation’s attention last year when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and in doing so, defied the federal court order on gay marriage. Now, she may have to pay more than $225,000 in legal fees for the opponents who challenged her in court.
Davis had objected on religious grounds, saying she didn’t want her name on the licenses given to same-sex couples. Four couples (two same-sex and two straight) sued Davis in a highly publicized case, and Davis even spent five days in jail on contempt charges. Finally, the Kentucky legislature removed the county clerks’ names from the state’s marriage licenses in April, which effectively resolved the lawsuit.
However, the four couples are appealing to US District Judge David Bunning, arguing that though the legislation has changed, Davis had still refused to perform her civic duty last year, clearly violating the law. The plaintiffs are asking for $233,058 in legal fees and costs, and Davis’ lawyers urged Bunning to deny the request.
Rowan County has stated that it will not pay the costs if the appeal is granted, since Davis was acting on her own behalf, and will have to cover the costs herself. Jeffrey C. Mando, Rowan County attorney, said, “County clerks are not employees of the county, but instead are the holders of elective office pursuant to the Kentucky Constitution.”