Grayson, Kentucky – The former county clerk in northeastern Kentucky, Kim Davis, has been ordered by a federal judge to pay over $260,000 in fees and expenses to the attorneys representing a same-sex couple in addition to the $100,000 in damages awarded by a jury last year. Davis gained national attention in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her religious beliefs and defying a Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
David Ermold and David Moore, the couple who were repeatedly denied marriage licenses by Davis or her office, filed a lawsuit against her in 2022. In a ruling last year, U.S. District Judge David Bunning declared that Davis had violated their constitutional rights. Subsequently, a jury awarded the couple $100,000 in damages in September 2023.
Last week, Judge Bunning ruled in favor of the couple’s request for Davis to pay their attorneys’ fees. In his order, Judge Bunning stated, “Having obtained summary judgment on liability and a jury award of damages, Plaintiffs are unquestionably the ‘prevailing party’ and are entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses.” Davis’ attorneys had argued that the billed hours were excessive, but Judge Bunning deemed them reasonable.
Davis was represented by lawyers from Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization that focuses on religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the family through litigation. In response to the ruling, Liberty Counsel stated that they will ask the court to reverse the jury’s verdict if their motion is denied, and they will appeal the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kim Davis lost her bid for reelection as county clerk in 2018. The payment of attorneys’ fees marks another legal setback for Davis, who became a central figure in the debate over same-sex marriage rights.
In summary, Judge Bunning has ruled that former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis must pay more than $260,000 in fees and expenses to the attorneys representing a same-sex couple, in addition to the $100,000 in damages previously awarded by a jury. Davis captured national attention in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her religious beliefs.