Ashland, Kentucky – A federal jury has awarded a Kentucky couple a sum of $100,000 after they sued former county clerk Kim Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis gained international attention in 2015 when she was briefly imprisoned for her refusal, citing her belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. The jury, deliberating on Wednesday, awarded David Ermold and David Moore $50,000 each, while another couple, James Yates and Will Smith, received no damages.
Davis, previously the Rowan County clerk, was held in contempt of court and spent five days in jail in 2015. Her case garnered widespread attention and support from conservative politicians who traveled to Kentucky to show their solidarity. Davis was only released after her staff issued the licenses on her behalf with her name removed from the form. Subsequently, the Kentucky state legislature passed a law that removed the names of all county clerks from state marriage licenses.
Last year, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled that Davis violated the constitutional rights of the two couples. He stated, “cannot use her own constitutional rights as a shield to violate the constitutional rights of others while performing her duties as an elected official.” The recent trials were specifically held to determine the damages against Davis, who argued that qualified immunity protected her from being sued for damages.
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, the organization representing Davis, expressed plans to appeal the decision and take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court had previously declined to hear an appeal from Davis’ lawyers in 2020.
Ermold and Moore made headlines in 2015 when they confronted Davis at the Rowan County clerk’s office while seeking a marriage license, surrounded by news cameras. Moore questioned Davis under whose authority she was acting, to which she replied, “under God’s authority.” Ermold, who sought the clerk position in 2018 but was unsuccessful, visited Davis’ office with Moore to file the candidacy. During this encounter, Davis, responsible for handling election filings, assisted Ermold in a brief but friendly meeting.
In conclusion, a federal jury has awarded $100,000 to a Kentucky couple who sued former county clerk Kim Davis for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis, who gained global attention for this stance, was held in contempt of court and later released after her staff issued the licenses on her behalf without her name. U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled that Davis violated the constitutional rights of the two couples, leading to the recent trials to determine damages. Despite plans to appeal the decision, the U.S. Supreme Court had previously declined to hear an appeal from Davis’ lawyers.