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Governor to Kim Davis: You're Great, but You May Owe $225K

Battle over who must pay legal fees in gay marriage fight plays out in Kentucky court
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2019 1:19 PM CST
Kim Davis, the former county clerk for Rowan County in Kentucky.   (AP Photo/John Flavell)
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(Newser) – Kim Davis became the most famous county clerk in the nation a few years ago when she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in Kentucky. Current Gov. Matt Bevin considers Davis, who is no longer in the job, an "inspiration" for what she did. In court, however, Bevin's attorneys say that Davis herself—or at least the county clerk office where she used to work—should have to pay nearly $225,000 in legal fees that resulted from the controversy, reports Kentucky.com. The attorneys don't think the state itself should have to pay the bills, and the matter is now being ironed out in court. The hefty bill is the result of a 2017 decision by a federal judge, who ruled that Kentucky taxpayers should cover the legal fees of the couples who sued the state.

The thinking of the governors' attorneys goes like this: We don't think Davis did anything wrong, but because a federal judge ruled that she violated the civil rights of gay couples, either Rowan County or Davis herself should pay the $222,000 in legal fees, reports the AP. “The governor’s office have taken no position as to whether Ms. Davis acted unconstitutionally," says Bevin's general counsel, Steve Pitt. "Governor Bevin does not believe that she has done so and continues to support Ms. Davis’s actions." Davis spent five days in jail in 2015 over her refusal to issue the licenses. (In November, Davis lost her bid for another term.)

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