LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) — U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning awarded $222, 695 in attorneys’ fees and $2,008.08 in costs to the plaintiffs in the case against the Rowan County Clerk who denied them marriage licenses.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning says Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was acting for the state government when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the basis of her personal religious beliefs.
He said the county government and Davis herself are not liable, but Kentucky taxpayers are.
Federal law provides that plaintiffs, who prevail against the government in civil rights cases, are entitled to recover their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, in part, to deter government officials from committing future violations of individuals’ rights.
Davis spent five days in jail for refusing a judge's order that she issue the licenses to gay couples shortly after a U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Kentucky's Republican governor signed a law last year that removed the names of clerks from state marriage licenses.
William Sharp, Legal Director for the ACLU of Kentucky, released this statement:
“We are pleased with today’s ruling, and we hope this serves as a reminder to Kentucky officials that willful violations of individuals’ civil liberties, such as what occurred here, will not only be challenged but will also prove costly.” He added, “It is unfortunate that Kentucky taxpayers will likely bear the financial burden of the unlawful actions and litigation strategies of an elected official, but those same voters are free to take that information into account at the ballot box.”