Taxpayers on the hook for Kim Davis legal battle after judge rules she doesn’t have to pay

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Taxpayer funds will be used to pay the $222,695 cost of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ court case, after a ruling let her off the hook.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis famously refused to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015, after the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in all 50 states.

Four couples (two same-sex ones and two straight ones) sued Davis over her actions, with help from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).

The case gained national attention when Davis was jailed for several days for contempt of court, after refusing to comply with repeated court orders.
Taxpayers on the hook for Kim Davis legal battle after judge rules she doesn’t have to pay
The lawsuit was resolved last year after the Republican Governor of Kentucky changed state law to eliminate the need for clerks like Davis to authorise licenses.

However, the unclear resolution led to a dispute over who would have to pay the ACLU’s $230,000 in legal costs.

In a ruling this week,  U.S. District Judge David Bunning wrote that Davis was not personally liable for paying the cost as she was acting in her “official capacity”.

Though Davis was the clerk for Rowan County, the judge ruled that the state of Kentucky should be liable for the cost over the County, as the authority to issue marriage licenses was derived from the state.

The ruling leaves Kentucky taxpayers on the hook for the full $222,695 in costs.

Anti-LGBT evangelical law firm Liberty Counsel provided free legal representation to Davis.

The group has more recently been secretly helping Republican lawmakers draft anti-LGBT legislation in a number of states, leading to a wave of anti-LGBT ‘conscience’ bills and ‘bathroom laws’ that exploit transgender issues as an excuse to strip back anti-discrimination protections.

William Sharp of the ACLU of Kentucky told Courier-Journal: “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.”

“[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.”