Former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis garnered national attention in 2015 when the Kentucky official refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage across the United States.
Davis leaned on the defense of moral and religious convictions that she said barred her from participating in the marriage process for same-sex couples, but the courts did not agree that this was a valid excuse to abdicate the responsibility of her role.
Now that the couples who sued Davis and the clerk’s office are likely owed reimbursement of their legal fees, Davis doesn’t believe she should be held financially liable for her personal actions — that liability should fall to Kentucky taxpayers, her lawyers have argued.
Attorneys for Republican Governor Matt Bevin — who has supported Davis throughout the ordeal — disagree, arguing that Davis should foot the more than $200,000 bill.
Now, after a string of court losses, the time is approaching for her to pay more than $220,000 in attorneys’ fees awarded to plaintiffs who sued Davis and the state of Kentucky over the clerk’s “protest.” These days, Bevin is no longer unquestionably supporting Davis. Instead, the governor’s lawyers have argued in federal court that Davis should pay up, personally if need be.
Davis — ousted from her clerk job in an election last November — has filed her own legal briefin the case, countering that Kentucky taxpayers must be forced to pay for her religious objections: “The Commonwealth is liable,” her legal team argues, “because Davis acted as a state official for purposes of marriage licensing.”