Kim Davis‘ $233,000 legal bill has set the stage for another lengthy court battle between the county clerk and the gay couples she denied marriage licenses. Davis has become a celebrity for conservatives and the anti-gay movement after taking a stand against gay marriage and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Davis, who has been married three times and is a believer in the Oneness Pentecostal theology, made headlines in 2015 after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Supreme Court decision to make gay marriage legal.
Davis’ decision landed her a meeting with Pope Francis, but she was also dragged to court. Moreover, when she ignored the judge’s order, she was jailed for five days. The lawsuit was resolved out of court in early 2016 after Matt Bevin, the Republican governor of Kentucky, modified the state law to eliminate the need for the signature of clerks to issue licenses.
Davis did not spend a dime in the court battles; she was represented pro bono by attorneys, who work for the anti-LGBT group Liberty Counsel. This week, Davis is back in the news after her attorney decided to fight against a humongous legal bill.
The four couples, who were forced to sue Davis to get marriage licenses, have asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to make her pay the $233,058 that they have forked out in legal fees. Davis is alone in this because Jeffrey C Mando, an attorney for Rowan County, is refusing to handle the bill by claiming that the clerk acted on her own. Mando 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 added:
”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.”
The Liberty Counsel is fighting the lawsuit. Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, insisted: “The ACLU is not entitled to attorney’s fees. Kim Davis won the case and the case is closed.” Staver added:
“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.”
Davis’ critics are thrilled with the recent developments.