Kentucky Taxpayers Must Pay $225K in Kim Davis Case

Judge orders the state to pay legal fees for those who sued the clerk
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2017 5:30 AM CDT
Taxpayers Must Pay for Kentucky Clerk's Marriage License Refusal
In this Sept. 1, 2015, file photo, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky.   (Timothy D. Easley)

A federal judge has ordered Kentucky taxpayers to pay more than $220,000 in legal fees because a county clerk refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015, the AP reports. US District Judge David Bunning on Friday ordered the state to pay $222,695 in fees to the attorneys of two same-sex couples and others who sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for refusing to give them marriage licenses. He also awarded $2,008.08 in other costs. Bunning said the county and Davis herself did not have to pay. "Davis represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky when she refused to issue marriage licenses to legally eligible couples. The buck stops there," Bunning wrote.

But Davis' attorney said she will appeal the ruling anyway. The judge ruled Davis lost the case. Attorney Mat Staver said they did not lose. He said the case was dismissed as moot after the state legislature changed the law in 2016 to remove the names of county clerks from marriage licenses. If the appeal succeeds, Staver said, state taxpayers would not have to pay legal fees because that money can only be awarded to a "prevailing party." While Davis plans to appeal, state officials have not decided. A spokesman for Gov. Matt Bevin said the state's outside counsel is reviewing the decision. (More Kim Davis stories.)

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