Former Clerk Who Refused Same-Sex Couples Marriage Licenses Ordered To Pay $260,000 in Legal Fees

( — Kim Davis, the former Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, was ordered by a federal judge to pay $260,104 in legal fees and expenses to the lawyers representing a gay couple who won a lawsuit against her, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The legal fees far outstrip the $100,000 in damages a jury awarded the couple in their lawsuit against Davis.

Davis’ attorneys argued that the legal fees requested by the couple’s attorneys were excessive.

However, US District Judge David Bunning disagreed, saying the arguments made by Davis’ lawyers were exaggerated and belied logic. Bunning said Davis lost the lawsuit and now must pay legal fees and costs.

Davis, who was the Rowan County Clerk when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage in 2015, refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, arguing that as a Christian, she believed that marriage was between a man and a woman, and issuing marriage licenses violated her religious freedom.

Davis was sued by Rowan County couple David Moore and David Ermold, who said they were denied a marriage license from Davis’ office three times. In September, a jury awarded them $50,000 each. A jury in a separate lawsuit from another gay couple awarded no damages in the case. The two couples sued Davis for mental anguish, humiliation, and emotional distress.

In 2022, Judge Bunning ruled that Davis violated the rights of gay couples.

The lawyers representing Moore and Ermold were Lexington attorneys Michael Gartland and Joseph Buckles. The Washington, DC, legal nonprofit Public Citizens Law Group also represented the couple when Davis requested that the US Supreme Court take up her case. The Supreme Court declined to hear her appeal.

Judge Bunning ordered Davis to pay $175,408 to Michael Gartland, $51,230 to Joseph Buckles, and $33,446.40 to Public Citizens Law Group. Davis must also pay another $14,058 in expenses.

Holly Meade, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Liberty Counsel, the group representing Davis, said Davis’ attorneys would appeal the judge’s decision.

Copyright 2024,