Kentucky clerk’s fight against same-sex marriage could be expensive.
Last month the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a motion in federal court seeking to recover $233,058 in attorneys’ fees and other expenses associated with fighting Kim Davis over marriage equality.
Last year the Kentucky county clerk and Christian extremist refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses because of her “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Rather than issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, Davis refused, and eventually went to jail, making her a Christian martyr for some, and the darling of right-wing Christian conservatives like former Republican presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee.
Both Davis and Rowan County are named as defendants in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
However, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Rowan County is now refusing to pay the costs, saying that Davis was acting on her own behalf, and did not act on behalf of Rowan County when she refused to issue marriage licenses,Arguing that Davis is responsible for the costs, Jeffrey C. Mando, an attorney for Rowan County, said:
County clerks are not employees of the county, but instead are the holders of elective office pursuant to the Kentucky Constitution.
ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director William Sharp explained in a statement that he wants the fees to send a message about the high price of violating people’s rights:
Courts recognize that when successful civil rights plaintiffs obtain a direct benefit from a court-ordered victory, such as in this case, they can be entitled to their legal expenses to deter future civil rights violations by government officials.
Bottom line: Ignoring the law and denying basic rights because of “sincerely held religious beliefs” is not only immoral, it can also be expensive.