February 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Former Kentucky Clerk Ordered to Pay Over $260,000 to Gay Couple in Marriage License Case

Federal Judge Upholds Award, Deems Attorneys’ Fees Reasonable in Landmark Decision

By Dolores Quintana

A federal judge has ruled that the former Kentucky clerk, who gained national attention for refusing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, must pay an additional $260,104 to the couple, according to court documents published last week and as reported by The Hill.

David Ermold and David Moore initiated legal action against former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in 2015 after she declined to grant them a marriage license, citing her religious beliefs as a Christian and asserting that issuing the license would violate “God’s definition of marriage.” In September, Davis lost the lawsuit, and the court ordered her to pay $100,000 in damages to the couple, $50,000 to each person in the married couple. 

Davis’s legal team tried to contest the proposed attorneys’ fees presented by the couple’s lawyers, arguing that the suggested fees were excessive and should be reduced by over 50 percent. However, U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning did not grant the motion from the plaintiff’s lawyers, awarding the couple $246,026.40 in attorneys’ fees and $14,058.30 in expenses in addition to the previously ordered damages.

In his order, Bunning deemed the requested attorneys’ fees as “reasonable” and emphasized that the couple had not only prevailed but had achieved their desired outcome of asserting their fundamental right to marry and obtain marriage licenses.

Despite this ruling, Liberty Counsel, the law firm representing Davis, announced plans to file a motion this month “to reverse the jury verdict” from September, which granted $50,000 each to Ermold and Moore. The law firm argued that Bunning’s order provided them with an opportunity to challenge the jury’s decision on the grounds of insufficient evidence to warrant monetary damages.

Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver stated, “This case is far from over. Because of Kim Davis, every clerk in Kentucky now has the freedom to serve as an elected official without compromising their religious convictions and conscience,” in a press release.

in NEWS
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