Kentucky taxpayers are still stuck with the legal fees stemming from county clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, a federal judge has ruled.
Back in July, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered the state to pay $222,695 to the attorneys of the two same-sex couples and others who sued Davis. He also awarded an additional $2,008 in other costs.
Gov. Matt Bevin and Terry Manuel, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for the Libraries and Archives, were named third-party defendants in the case.
They appealed the ruling, arguing that since Davis acted of her own accord, not under the direction of the state, in deciding to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she and the Rowan County Clerk’s Office should be solely responsible for footing the subsequent legal bills.
Bunning rejected the appeal on Monday.
“The Commonwealth of Kentucky is liable for plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs because defendant Kim Davis acted on behalf of the Commonwealth when she refused to issue marriage licenses,” he wrote in his decision.
This echoes language found in his original ruling.
“Davis represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky when she refused to issue marriage licenses to legally eligible couples,” he wrote. “The buck stops there.”
The issue of “religious freedom” has been a hot topic ever since President Donald Trump assumed control of the Oval Office.
In May, Trump signed an executive order allowing churches and other non-profits to take a more direct role in politicking for candidates and parties.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also issued memos instructing those under his command in the Department of Justice to begin giving cover for those who wish to discriminate on the basis of their religious beliefs.
As for Davis, she is keeping herself busy, attempting to export her ideology overseas. She traveled to Romania recently with members of her legal team, Liberty Counsel, where they are trying to get the country to ban marriage equality.