Now Reading
Kim Davis Must Pay $100,000 to Couple for Refusing Their Same-Sex Marriage License

Kim Davis Must Pay $100,000 to Couple for Refusing Their Same-Sex Marriage License

A federal jury has ruled in favor of a same-sex couple in Kentucky, awarding them $100,000 in damages in a case against Kim Davis, a former county clerk who refused to issue them a marriage license, citing her religious beliefs.

The verdict comes after years of legal battles between Davis and two same-sex couples. The lawsuit accused Davis, the former Rowan County clerk, of violating their constitutional rights by denying them marriage licenses. The district court held Davis personally responsible in both cases, but damages were only granted in one.

In the case Ermold v. Davis, the jury awarded $50,000 to each plaintiff, David Ermold and David Moore, while no damages were awarded in the case Yates v. Davis. A federal judge had previously ruled that Davis had violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

Reacting to the verdict, Joe Buckles, co-counsel for Ermold and Moore, expressed elation, stating that his clients felt “completely vindicated” by the jury’s decision.

“The Supreme Court says that my clients have a constitutional right to marry under the 14th Amendment,” Buckles asserted, “but this case isn’t really about [Davis’s] religion. The case isn’t really about our clients’ right to marry. The case is about a government official that just refused to do her job. It’s a pretty simple case.”

Buckles went on to say that the lack of damages for the second couple, James Yates and Will Smith, was a “terrible injustice,” emphasizing that their constitutional rights were also violated.

The legal saga began in 2015 after the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Davis, citing her religious beliefs as a member of the Apostolic Church, refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Eventually, a deputy clerk granted the couples’ requests for licenses, and Davis spent five days in jail for contempt of court. She was later defeated in her bid for re-election.

Mat Staver, an attorney for Davis, expressed plans to appeal the decision.

“We will argue religious accommodation under the First Amendment and other state and federal laws,” Staver said. “We will also argue that Obergefell v. Hodges was wrongly decided and should be overturned.”

It’s worth noting that the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Davis’s lawyers in 2020, indicating the potential legal challenges that lie ahead in this ongoing and contentious battle at the intersection of religious freedom and LGBTQ+ rights.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top

You’re reading our ad-supported experience

For our premium ad-free experience, including exclusive podcasts, issues and more, subscribe to

Plans start as low as $2.50/mo