Jury to decide damages in same-sex couples’ lawsuits against Kim Davis

Jury to decide damages in same-sex couples’ lawsuits against Kim Davis
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 11:47 AM EDT
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ASHLAND, Ky. (WKYT) - A federal trial began Monday afternoon at the federal court in Ashland to decide how much money Kim Davis might owe two same-sex couples.

A judge ruled the former Rowan County clerk violated their constitutional rights when she denied them marriage licenses.

We first covered the story back in the summer of 2015. In the eight years since then, passions have cooled considerably, but one legal question still has not been settled.

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It will be up to a jury to decide whether and how much Davis might have to pay in damages.

Two couples sued her.

David Ermold and David Moore were denied a marriage license three times. James Yates and Will Smith were denied a total of five times. The two cases are separate but, obviously, very similar. So, they’re being tried at the same time.

Davis’ stand turned Morehead into the center of a battle over gay rights in the summer of 2015 after the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v Hodges.

On September 3, 2015, a judge ordered Davis to jail for contempt of court. Thousands rallied with her in Carter County when she was released.

The judge has already ruled, without the need of a trial, that Davis clearly violated the couples’ 14th Amendment right to marry.

However, the question of damages has lingered as the case has seen a number of setbacks, appeals and delays.

Davis could owe compensatory damages plus legal fees. We’re told those costs could have run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars at this point.

The jury was set to be seated on Monday afternoon, with oral arguments scheduled for Tuesday morning. The judge says the trial could run through Wednesday.