News

ACLU seeks to recover costs incurred in Kim Davis lawsuit

ACLU seeks to recover costs incurred in Kim Davis lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky is seeking to recover more than $200, 000 it spent in a lawsuit against Kim Davis, above, the Rowan County clerk who refused to issue marriage licesnses to same-sex couples.

According to this report, ACLU spent $233,058 in attorneys’ fees and other expenses associated with the lawsuit it brought on behalf of several couples last year when Davis shut down marriage licence operations in Rowan County, where she is the elected county clerk, rather than issue licences to same-sex couples after the US Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land.

Both Davis and Rowan County are named as defendants in the ACLU motion, filed in this week in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

But “the motion does not call for Davis to personally pay the fees,” said ACLU spokesman Ryan Karerat.

ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director William Sharp said in a press release that the organisation aims:

To send a message to government officials that willful violations of individuals’ rights will be costly.

ACLU of Kentucky Executive Director Michael Aldridge said in the same release:

It is unfortunate that an elected official sought to use her office to withhold government services on the basis of her religious beliefs. And it is equally regrettable that the county may now have to pay for her misuse of that office and her refusal to comply with the court’s orders.

When Davis shut down marriage licence operations at her office shortly after the marriage equality ruling, she said issuing  licences to same-sex couples conflicted with her Christian beliefs. After US District Judge David Bunning ordered her to comply with the law and issue licenses to all eligible couples, she still refused.

Bunning them found her in contempt of court. She spent five days in jail last autumn as a result. She was freed when her deputies began processing same-sex licences, bringing Rowan County into compliance.

Eventually the state of Kentucky changed its marriage license forms to remove the names of county clerks, first by Governor Matt Bevin’s executive order, then by legislation, and this satisfied Davis’s objections.

Last month Bunning dismissed the ACLU suits brought against Davis, noting that the state’s actions rendered them moot.

In light of these proceedings, and in view of the fact that the marriage licences continue to be issued without incident, there no longer remains a case or controversy before the Court.

But the fact that marriage licences are being issued without discrimination means the ACLU and its clients prevailed, therefore entitling the organisation to recoup the costs, ACLU officials said.

Courts recognise that when successful civil rights plaintiffs obtain a direct benefit from a court-ordered victory, such as in this case, they can be entitled to their legal expenses to deter future civil rights violations by government officials.

Liberty Counsel, the far-right legal group that represented Davis doesn’t see it that way.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the group, said the state’s changes to marriage licence forms mean Davis actually won the case.

County clerks are now able to perform their public service without being forced to compromise their religious liberty. The case is now closed and the door has been shut on the ACLU’s attempt to assess damages against Kim Davis.

yanicka-parker

Meanwhile, it is reported here that Yanicka Parker, above, a former Broward County, Florida, court specialist who refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples is suing Broward Clerk of Courts Howard Forman for what she believes is religious discrimination.

In the lawsuit, Yanicka Parker claims she was wrongfully sacked after informing her employer she would not issue same-sex marriage licences following the Supreme Court’s mandate in January.

After supervisors informed her she would need to issue licences to same-sex couples, she declined to comply, citing her “Christian beliefs”.

After her sacking, Parker was reportedly evicted from her home in July, and is seeking compensation for past and future wages, bonuses and benefits she would have received, as well as additional compensation for attorney fees, “emotional harm, mental anguish, stress, anxiety and diminished reputation or stature.”

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Kim Davis report)

13 responses to “ACLU seeks to recover costs incurred in Kim Davis lawsuit”

  1. Broga says:

    Why is it only Christians who think they have a justification because “it conflicts with my Christian’ beliefs?” Lots of things conflict with my atheist’ beliefs but that seems to be of no consequence. These complaining Christians have the idea that their beliefs transcend those of anyone else. It is good to see the challenges against this arrogant ignorance increasing.

  2. Caute says:

    Def.
    Christian … a holy uncharitable person.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1.

    God established the government and its laws, according to the bible. Quite convenient to follow only those parts of the bible that suit your needs. More honest to not follow the bible.

  4. Paul says:

    Why are these people so emotionally weak. They just don’t seem to be able to live and let live with any one or anything that they deem ‘wrong’, and these beliefs really are harmful to us all.
    It is axiomatic I detest religion but I dont go down the local church demanding and telling them not to go in and not talk to their sky fairy. And if they do they’ll all die horrid deaths.

  5. Caute says:

    I was once conversing with two women of my acquaintance in the garden of my local pub. One of them is one of those convinced healing, aura reading, crystal rubbing new age types … a bit nutty. She said that she could tell from my aura that I had some emotional deficiency easily put right by keeping some polished stone in my pocket. I started taking the piss – gently. The other woman, who I knew to be an absolute fundamentalist literalist evangelical christian chimed in and went beyond my gentle ribbing of the nutty one by declaring such ideas as primitive, silly, unproven woo woo magic. The godly christian one exploded with rage when I turned to her and said that religious beliefs were far worse and much more ridiculous, and damaging, and uncharitable and divisive than those of the woo lady. The godly woman now knows that I am an atheist and ready to ridicule her and all her bible hugging chums. She has not spoken to me since and I am excommunicated by her coterie of middle england jesus lovers. I call that a result. How thin skinned and insecure christians really are.

  6. L.Long says:

    The really stoopid part of all this is that most xtians know there is NOTHING in the buyBull that is against gawd’s Sorry-Ass Law for allowing gay marriage! I even challenge any xtian to me where it says NO Gay Marriage!!! Or Gay sex!

  7. Broga says:

    Caute: I once met a woman, devout Christian, who said she could see people’s auras. Apparently these things float above your head. That was mind boggling enough but she then added “And I can tell from them the date of your birth”. This was too good to be true so I asked her to tell me my date of birth.

    “I meant your month of birth,” she said. I thought that would be impressive so I asked her for that and she said, “You were born in November.” I said that was not so.

    She then said that “Depending on the conditions I might be a month out either side.” I said I was born in March.

    She then said, “Sometimes the aura fades a bit and that makes it very difficult to get it right. But usually I am not more than a few days away the date.”

    Anybody else met up with aura people? She told me there were lots of people who could see them. I haven’t met anyone else.

  8. I naturally took it that Ms Davis was herself homosexual. She looks like Top Dog from a high security male penitentiary, the poor cow.

  9. Perhaps it was her time of the month?

  10. AgentCormac says:

    Those on a ‘higher spiritual plain’ – don’t you just love ’em? I make no apologies for linking to my fave Jesus and Mo cartoon one more time.
    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2009/07/09/mouth/

  11. Dionigi says:

    @L.Long
    Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
    Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
    and I’m not even a christian.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Dionigi: And when Christians, even, try telling you that all that “Mosaic Law” business has been superseded by “Grace”, there are plenty of verses like the following in the New Testament.

    “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Rom. 1:26&27 KJV)

    Couldn’t be plainer.

  13. Peter Sykes says:

    Broga:
    I had girl-friend once who claimed to see auras.
    And she claimed to be a skeptic!
    (BTW she also said that I was a witch…)