Court rules Same-Sex Couples Can Seek Damages Against Kim Davis

04 May, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Kentucky Clerk Not Off the Hook Yet, Sixth Circuit Rules

A same-sex couple denied a marriage license by infamous Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis can now legally sue her, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The case of David Ermold and David Moore had previously been ruled moot by U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning, but the Cincinnati-based appeals court panel overturned his decision Tuesday.

A gay couple can still sue Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis for damages, the Sixth Circuit ruled Tuesday, even after the state mandated the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples following her widely publicized refusal to do so.

Ermold and Moore want Davis to pay damages for the emotional distress caused by her refusal to issue them a license. The 6th Circuit noted the judge "erred" in ruling damages claimed by David Ermold and David Moore were "moot" because marriage equality had become law and Davis was no longer required to sign-off on marriage licenses.

The fight for marriage licenses in Rowan County became worldwide news in 2015, turning Davis into a symbol of conservative resistance to the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling.

In the meantime, despite a series of legal challenges - and a brief spell in jail for contempt of court - Davis remains the Rowan County Clerk.

"The record does not support an argument that (their) damages claims are insubstantial or otherwise foreclosed".

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"The district court concluded that because Ermold and Moore were eventually issued a marriage license, the dispute in their case was resolved", they wrote.

"The ruling keeps the case alive for a little while but it is not a victory for the plaintiffs", Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a Christian advocacy group representing Davis, said in a statement cited by Reuters.

The ruling last July had said the couple could not seek damages from Davis, despite that she refused to sign marriage licences brought by same-sex couples.

Now the case will circle back to the U.S. District judge.

The couple's attorney, Michael J. Gartland, is confident his clients will prevail.

"He added: The next step will be to go to discovery and go to trial, where I am confident we will obtain a judgment against Davis".

Days later, Ermold and Moore - who filmed their repeated attempts to get a license from Davis - filed a lawsuit against Davis.

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