Fighting Discrimination

Former Ky. clerk Kim Davis, who refused to give a marriage license to a same-sex couple, must pay them $100,000

  Rob Boston

You might have thought that the saga of Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk who refused to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples even after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld marriage equality in 2015, was safely in the rearview mirror. After all, voters removed Davis from office in 2018.

But there has been an interesting coda to Davis’ case: A federal jury has ordered her to pay $100,000 to a couple, David Ermold and David Moore, who were repeatedly denied licenses by her office. (A separate jury in another case for some reason refused to give monetary damages to another same-sex couple denied service by Davis.)

In case you need a refresher about this case, Davis, citing her conservative Christian religious beliefs, refused to allow her office to grant same-sex couples wedding licenses, even though the couples were legally entitled to them. Lawsuits ensued, and her defiance of the law led her to spend a short spell in jail.

No folk hero here

Christian Nationalist groups attempted to make Davis into a type of folk hero, and several far-right politicians lined up to be photographed with her. But most Americans could see Davis for what she was: a religious extremist who refused to do the job the taxpayers paid her to do.

Liberty Counsel, the Christian Nationalist legal organization that represented Davis, has vowed to appeal. The group should give up. This case is cut and dried: Same-sex couples have a legal right to marry. Davis refused to acknowledge that right and defied court orders to recognize the law. If she truly believed she could not fulfill the duties of her government position, the right thing to do was resign and turn the position over to someone who could. She refused. Davis wanted to keep her taxpayer-funded job while discriminating against some of those very taxpayers.

Far from being a hero, Davis is just a zealot who tried to use the power of her government position to impose her religious beliefs on others. Justice has been served in this case.

Photo: Kim Davis attends a rally in Grayson, Ky., on Sept. 8, 2015. Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images

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