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Court uses loophole to let Kim Davis avoid paying legal fees for wronged couples

Kim Davis and attorney Mat Staver
Kim Davis and attorney Mat StaverPhoto: Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015 doesn’t have to pay legal fees for the couples who sued her.

Attorneys for the couples who sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis asked the court to award them about $233,000 in legal fees and costs. Davis’ lawyers asked that the request be denied.

A law approved last year removed county clerks’ names and authorizations from state marriage licenses.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins said Monday that because the issue was resolved in the legislature, the plaintiffs weren’t prevailing parties and aren’t entitled to legal fees.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky’s legal director, William E. Sharp, said in a statement that the ruling is preliminary, and the group will file objections before U.S. District Judge David Bunning issues his final ruling.

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