Former Kentucky clerk who refused LGBT+ marriage licenses faces massive fine

A Kentucky official who barred two LGBT+ men from obtaining a marriage licence has been ordered by a federal judge to pay them $260,084 in legal fees and expenses in their lawsuit against her.

Kim Davis first began denying same-sex couples marriage licences in 2015, shortly after the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could marry. The two men, David Ermold and David Moore, were one of the couples Ms Davis refused.

They subsequently filed a lawsuit against her in July of that year. US District Judge David L Bunning issued the ruling awarding the couple $246,026 in attorney fees and $14,058 in expenses.

Ms Davis must also pay the couple $100,000 damages, a jury determined in September, following a three-day trial. It’s thought that attorneys for the former country clerk will appeal the decision.

Ms Davis spent time in jail in 2015 after she began refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, a decision she tried to justify through her religious beliefs. She previously said that issuing the licences would “violate God’s definition of marriage.”

Judge Bunning, who also ordered Ms Davis to spend time in jail, said he would not release her until she began issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples. He warned her staff that if they did not follow suit, they, too, would be subjected to jail time.

Following the US Supreme Court ruling, the Kentucky state legislature passed a law removing the names of county clerks from marriage licences.