FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — As a candidate for governor in 2015, Matt Bevin said he “absolutely supported” a Kentucky county clerk who stopped issuing marriage licenses because of her opposition to gay marriage.
But four years later, after a court ordered Kentucky taxpayers to pay more than $222,000 in legal fees for the gay and straight couples who sued, outside lawyers for now Gov. Bevin say former Rowan County clerk Kim Davis broke the law and taxpayers “should not have to collectively bear the financial responsibility for Davis’ intransigence.”
“Only Davis refused to comply with the law as was her obligation and as required by the oath of office she took,” Bevin attorney Palmer G. Vance II wrote in a brief filed with the court.
Bevin has been a staunch supporter of Davis, who spent five days in jail for refusing a court order to issue marriage licenses following the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized gay marriage.
The case dates to the summer of 2015 when same-sex marriage became legal nationwide. At the time, the county clerk’s name appeared on all marriage licenses in Kentucky. Davis, a devout Apostolic Christian who says gay marriage is contrary to her religious beliefs, viewed this as her endorsement of same-sex marriage. She stopped issuing all marriage licenses.
Several gay and straight couples sued her with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. A federal judge ordered her to issue the licenses, but Davis refused. The judge then found her in contempt of court and jailed her for five days. The case was resolved when the state legislature passed a law removing the names of county clerks from Kentucky marriage licenses.
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