Gay couple who was denied marriage licence by Kim Davis awarded $100,000

Former federal clerk Kim Davis has been successfully sued by a gay couple who she refused to grant a marriage licence to in 2015.

An image of Kim Davis. She looks into the camera, wearing glasses and a patterned cardigan.
Image: X: @PaulRudnickNY

A gay couple in the United States has been awarded $100,000 by a federal jury after they sued Kim Davis, who refused to give them a marriage licence. The ruling was announced on Wednesday, September 13, following an eight-year dispute between the parties.

In 2015, Davis, a former federal clerk, refused to give Kentucky couple David Ermold and David Moore a marriage licence “under God’s authority”. As a result, she was briefly jailed for contempt of court, but released after five days when her staff issued the licences with her name removed.

The Born-Again Christian was first taken to court in 2019 by the couple, although she argued that she could not be sued as she had sovereign immunity. Despite this, it was later confirmed that she could be individually sued, and so Ermold and Moore did just that.

In 2022, it was deemed that Kim Davis had defied the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v Hodges ruling, which legalised same-sex marriage in the United States, and District Judge David Bunning said she “cannot use her own constitutional rights as a shield to violate the constitutional rights of others while performing her duties as an elected official.”

The trial this week thus determined the damages against Davis, with Ermold and Moore ultimately awarded $50,000 dollars each. However, a second gay couple, James Yates and Will Smith, who similarly sued the former clerk, did not receive any damages.

Following the ruling, David Ermold took to X (formerly Twitter) to express his gratitude to the couple’s legal team.

“After 8 years of fighting, we know that we have the best and most dedicated attorneys. Thank you, Mike Gartland and @joebuckles. You helped change our lives for the better, and we are truly thankful,” he said.


Meanwhile, members of Davis’ team at Liberty Counsel released a statement saying they “look forward to appealing this decision and taking this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

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