ACLU Sues Kim Davis And Rowan County For $233K In Legal Fees

ACLU Sues Kim Davis And Rowan County For $233K In Legal Fees September 23, 2016

Kentucky clerk’s stand for anti-gay Christian hate could be expensive.

Earlier this week 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.”

The Advocate reports the ACLU of Kentucky is seeking to recover $233,058 in attorneys’ fees and other expenses associated with the lawsuit it brought on behalf of several couples last year after Davis shut down marriage license operations in Rowan County, where she is the elected county clerk.  

Last year, 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 motion, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. But “the motion does not call for Davis to personally pay the fees,” ACLU spokesman Ryan Karerat told BuzzFeed.

ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director William Sharp said Monday that he wanted the fees to send a message about the high price of violating people’s rights. He explained in a statement:

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.

Sharp added:

By filing today’s motion, we hope to achieve that very objective — to send a message to government officials that willful violations of individuals’ rights will be costly.

However, Liberty Counsel, the Christian advocacy group that represented Davis in court, called the attempt to recoup fees a “Hail Mary” from the ACLU.

Mat Staver, the group’s chairman, said the ACLU is not entitled to attorney’s fees because the case was ultimately dismissed. In a statement Staver said:

County clerks are now able to perform their public service without being forced to compromise their religious liberty. The case is now closed and the door has been shut on the ACLU’s attempt to assess damages against Kim Davis.

Bottom line: Ignoring the law and denying individuals basic rights because of “sincerely held religious beliefs” is not only immoral, it can also be expensive.

Kim Davis (Image via Carter County Jail)
Kim Davis (Image via Carter County Jail)

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