November 2023 Church & State Magazine - November 2023

Former Ky. county clerk ordered to pay $100,000 to same-sex couple


A federal jury ruled in September that Kim Davis, a Rowan County, Ky., clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples even after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld marriage equality in 2015, must pay $100,000 to a couple she turned away.

Davis: No folk hero here (Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Davis, who was voted out of office in 2018, was sued by 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.)

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.

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 the ploy failed to win over voters in the county, who removed Davis from office.

Liberty Counsel, the Christian Nationalist legal organization that represented Davis, has vowed to appeal. 

On its “Wall of Separation” blog, Americans United observed, “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.”

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