Cash-Strapped Kentucky Pays Hundreds Of Thousands For Kim Davis’s ‘Religious Freedom’

Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee hold hands to the sky, as "Eye of the Tiger" plays

WHAS11, an ABC-affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, has reported that U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning awarded a huge payout to the plaintiffs for legal fees in the Kim Davis case. Davis is the infamous County Clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky who made national news when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her personal religious beliefs.

The payout for Kentucky taxpayers: $222,695 in attorneys’ fees and $2,008.08 in costs.

Judge Bunning found that Kim Davis and Rowan County are not liable since she was acting for the state government. The Kentucky taxpayers will be on the hook for the money thanks to Davis’s religious convictions against doing her job. As required by Federal law, plaintiff’s may recover reasonable court fees and costs if they win their case against the government, which is meant to inhibit further rights violations from government officials.

William Sharp, legal director for ACLU of Kentucky reacted to the news:

“We are pleased with today’s ruling, and we hope this serves as a reminder to Kentucky officials that willful violations of individuals’ civil liberties, such as what occurred here, will not only be challenged but will also prove costly.” He added, “It is unfortunate that Kentucky taxpayers will likely bear the financial burden of the unlawful actions and litigation strategies of an elected official, but those same voters are free to take that information into account at the ballot box.”

The court order noted that it only took one week past the SCOTUS decision on legalizing same-sex marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges case for Kentucky to find itself in legal trouble due to Kim Davis’s unilateral decision not to issue legal marriage licenses.

From the court order:

“This litigation has produced many appeals, a jailing for contempt, at least two marriages, and legislative action. Now, this protracted case has boiled down to a single remaining issue: attorneys’ fees.”

In the end, Kim Davis has cost the taxpayers of Kentucky thousands in court fees for her time in the media spotlight. American News X covered the many times she made news, from the time she was awkward with the Pope, to the time her lawyer, Mathew Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, sent lawyers to 50 states to influence legislatures to target the LGBTQ community.

And who can forget when Mike Huckabee decided to play “Eye of the Tiger” to stoke support for Davis at a rally, racking up $75,000 in problems for Huckabee since he didn’t understand copyright infringement and had no permission to use the song. The dramatic gesture as he held hands with Kim, thrusting their hands skyward really was priceless though.

The band Survivor strongly objected to Huckabee’s use of their song, commenting on Facebook:

“I would not grant her [Kim Davis] the rights to use Charmin!” the band wrote. “C’mom Mike, you are not The Donald but you can do better than that,” the band posted on Facebook.

In November of last year, Roger K. Gannam of Liberty Counsel argued that the plaintiffs (two gay and two straight couples) in the Davis case did not deserve to be awarded legal fees. The Kentucky law was actually changed to remove Country Clerk names from marriage licenses, a semi-victory for Davis, who was punished with 5 days in jail –A martyr for right-wing conservative Christians for the Apostolic Church she belongs to. Her son, a deputy clerk, also refused to issue marriage licenses during her short but well-televised stay in the slammer.

As recently as May 2017, Mat Staver was confident Davis would prevail. In the end, David Ermold and David Moore, who confronted Kim Davis at her office in a famous video, have been awarded damages to cover at least some of their hassles. So far there hasn’t been a comment from Mike Huckabee on the matter.

As one Twitter user put it:

“Mr. Huckabee, are you going to be making a statement about the big loss in the Supreme Court today for you and your best friend Kim Davis?”

The LGBTQ community may find some relief in today’s rulings, but also must temper that with the knowledge that conservative Christians who stand against their rights are gaining more power than ever in Washington.

Mike Huckabee’s latest tweet is about his daughter, who has just been appointed Trump’s Press Secretary.

Here is the video showing Davis confronted by David Ermold and David Moore, which captured national attention:


Feature image: Screenshot from YouTube

About Matthew Silvan 231 Articles
Matthew Silvan is a gay man from the American South who has spent years fighting against the scapegoating and demonization imposed on the LGBT community by Republicans and religious hypocrites and zealots. His writing reflects the constant struggle to overcome the inequality and discrimination still rampant in America. He is an advocate for diversity and progress, with a passion for nature and preserving the environment, who also tends to approach things in a lighthearted way despite it all.