Kim Davis, the former Kentucky clerk that denied two gay couples marriage licenses in 2015, violated their constitutional rights, a federal judge found on Friday.
“Defendant Davis violated Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to marry by refusing to issue them marriage licenses, either personally or through the policy she established for the Rowan County Clerk’s office,” read the court order, as obtained by Rolling Stone.
Although the pre-trial summary judgment found said violation, Judge David Bunning’s order did not include a decision on whether Davis will be responsible for the legal fees associated with the case, involving couples David Ermold and David Moore and James Yates and Will Smith.
It’ll now be up to a jury to decide whether Davis — who lost her re-election for clerk in 2018 — will have to cover damages, court costs, and attorney fees for the couples since her exclusionary decision made headlines more than six years ago.
Davis’ attorneys said in a press release that they would “continue to argue that she is not liable for damages because she was entitled to a religious accommodation.” They wrote, “Davis argues that a finding of liability would violate the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion.”
Michael Garltand, one of the attorneys for Ermold and Moore, said “everybody should be treated fairly and equally under the eyes of the law.” He tells Rolling Stone, “My clients are happy they’re finally going to get a day in court after over seven years… The judge rejected all of Davis’ excuses, which were ridiculous.”
In 2015, Davis cited “God’s authority” as to why she shouldn’t have to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. She then became a hero to right-wing politicians, including Ted Cruz and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. However, four years later, Bevin’s attorneys stated in court that she — and not Kentucky’s taxpayers — must be responsible for the, at the time, more than $220,000 in legal fees.