Friday, September 15, 2023

Kim Davis must pay damages to one gay couple

A former Kentucky county clerk is being ordered to pay $100,000 to a local couple who sued the clerk after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kim Davis, the former clerk of Rowan county in eastern Kentucky, rose to national prominence for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2015, arguing that such actions violated her religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Davis was briefly jailed on contempt of court charges for refusing to issue the licenses. She was later released when her staff issued the marriage certificates, but without her name on the form.

Last year, a federal judge ruled that Davis violated the constitutional rights of the two gay couples who sued her.

US district judge David Bunning said that Davis “cannot use her own constitutional rights as a shield to violate the constitutional rights of others while performing her duties as an elected official”.

This week, in a trial to determine damages Davis must pay, a federal jury ordered Davis to pay $50,000 each to David Ermold and David Moore, one of two gay couples.

The second couple who sued, James Yates and Will Smith, were awarded no damages.

Kentucky’s Republican-leaning legislature passed sweeping anti-LGBTQ laws, banning gender-affirming care for those under 18 and prohibiting trans children from using the bathroom that best suits their gender identity at school.

Sadly, most of the Republican US states are making refugees of their own residents, forcing LGBTQ people and their families, particularly trans kids, to cross state lines for refuge and safety.

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