Kentucky gov's lawyers say Kim Davis should have to pay gay couples' legal fees

Attorneys for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) say in a court filing that former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis should be held responsible for legal fees incurred by same-sex couples who sued her for denying them marriage licenses.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Wednesday that while Bevin has publicly supported Davis and lauded her as "an inspiration," his attorneys said in a court brief that the former clerk "stood in direct conflict" with the law.

The governor's lawyers argue that the Rowan County Clerk's office, not the state of Kentucky, should be stuck with the nearly $225,000 in court costs accrued in lawsuits against Davis.

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“Davis had an independent and sworn duty to uphold the law as an elected county officer,” attorney Palmer G. Vance II wrote. “If fees are awarded, they must be the responsibility of the Rowan County clerk’s office, which should be deterred from engaging in conduct that violates civil rights — and leads to costly litigation.”

A three-judge panel is set to hear arguments in the case on Thursday in Cincinnati, the Herald-Leader reported.

Davis made national headlines in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her religious views, after same-sax marriage became legal nationwide. She spent five days in jail after a judge ordered her to issue the licenses and she still refused.

Davis lost her bid for reelection last November to Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr.