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Woman who denied same-sex couples marriage licences faces massive legal bill

by Ros Mayfield

A former county clerk who refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples in the US state of Kentucky has been ordered to pay over a quarter of a million dollars (£205,000) in legal costs. Her lawyers say the amount is too high, and they’re planning to appeal the jury’s verdict in her case.

Kim Davis, who’s 58 and an evangelical Christian, lost her case last September against two homosexual couples and was told to pay a total of $100,000 (£78,3000) in damages.

Davis’ lawyers, from the Christian religious rights law firm Liberty Counsel, argued the fees being requested were unreasonable, but the district judge disagreed. A motion will be filed later this month, asking the court to reverse the jury verdict, based on insufficient evidence.

Liberty Counsel (LC) says if the motion is denied, they will launch an appeal.

“The evidence presented at trial simply does not support that verdict because there were no lost wages and they presented no supporting testimony regarding emotional injury.”

David Ermold alleged that his position at Pikeville University had been terminated as a result of the press attention around the case. But during the trial, the human resources director testified that was untrue, and that his role had been downsized along with several others.

LC lawyers say the case should never have come before a jury.

The story has attracted headlines in mainstream media over the years and is seen as a landmark case of religious freedom. In the days before the trial began, Davis’ legal team also took issue with jurors being asked about their religion, and if they held any moral views on same-sex marriage.

The judge overruled Liberty Counsel’s objection, and several potential jurors were subsequently discounted from selection. LC says that was a violation of their freedom of expression and unlawful. They say they’re prepared to go as far as the US Supreme Court in Washington DC to prove their point.


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