ACLU Loses Effort to Charge Kim Davis $231K in Legal Fees

(Photo: Reuters/James Lawler Duggan)Kentucky's Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, makes remarks after receiving the "Cost of Discipleship" award at a Family Research Council conference in Washington, September 25, 2015.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who in 2015 spent six days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples due to her religious beliefs, will not have to pay $231,000 in court fees, a federal judge has ruled.

U. S. Magistrate Judge Edward Atkins denied the plaintiffs' demand in Miller v. Davis that Davis pay the ACLU $231,000 because the plaintiffs didn't win their case against Davis, Liberty Counsel reported. 

Their were three cases against Davis, all of which were dismissed as moot on April 19, 2016, after the Kentucky legislature passed a law providing Davis, and others, with the accomodation she was seeking. 

"The plaintiffs are not 'prevailing parties' . . . and are therefore not entitled to an award of attorneys' fees," Judge Atkins wrote. 

Liberty Counsel described the plaintiff's effort as bullying. 

"The ACLU and others still want to punish Kim Davis for daring to take a stand for religious liberty," said Horatio Mihet, Liberty Counsel's Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel, "but today the court recognized that the ACLU does not deserve to get paid for its bullying."

Mihet added: "Kim Davis never violated her conscience, and she still has her job and her freedom — that is a win for Kim and for all Americans who want to perform public service without being forced to compromise their religious liberties."

The ACLU had argued that it had the right to reimbursement, because "having to go through the expense of that litigation to secure a basic right that should not have been denied eligible couples in the first place — the ability to secure a marriage license and marry the person of their choosing."

Davis claimed decisive victory in the case back in July 2016, following the passing of Kentucky Senate Bill 216. The bill modified the Kentucky marriage licensing scheme to remove entirely a County Clerk's name, personal identifiers, and authorization from any license.

Davis explained that that was the provision she had been seeking for since the beginning.

"I am thankful to the legislators for passing this law, to Gov. Matt Bevin for signing it, to Liberty Counsel for representing me, and most of all to Jesus Christ who redeemed me and is my solid rock on which I stand," she said back then.

"I am pleased that I can continue to serve my community as the Rowan County Clerk without having to sacrifice my religious convictions and conscience."

Davis' refusal to compromise on her beliefs, stating that marriage is only between one man and one woman, was praised by religious conservatives in America, and earned her the "Cost of Discipleship Award" in 2015 by the Family Research Council.

"What militant secularists are almost certainly afraid of is what is coming to pass: courage is breeding courage. When other people might have cowered in fear, Kim took a stand. And today, millions of Americans stand with her and for the religious freedom upon which our nation was founded," FRC President Tony Perkins said at the time.

Evangelical preacher the Rev. Franklin Graham also said in August last year that Davis is an example of how people should stand up for their beliefs, even when under great pressure.

"I thank God for men and women willing to take a bold stand for biblical truth — no matter the cost," Graham wrote at the time.

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