Kentucky Clerk Not Off the Hook Yet, Sixth Circuit Rules

Posted May 04, 2017

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis famously refused to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015, after the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in all 50 states.

After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015, Davis denied several same-sex couples marriage licenses, including David Ermold and David Moore of Rowan County.

Reuters reported that the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned an earlier ruling from a district court that found the couples didn't have standing given that they ultimately did get a marriage license. The appeals court ruled that they're entitled to have their complaint against Davis heard because it's "not a general challenge to Davis's policy, but rather seeks damages for a particularized harm allegedly suffered by a specific set of plaintiffs".

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

The appeals court ruling Tuesday serves as a reminder that, while Kentucky law has changed and Davis has returned to work, the standoff that started in 2015 has not reached a complete conclusion.

Moore concluded, "The record does not support an argument that appellants' damages claims are insubstantial or otherwise foreclosed".

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Ermold and Moore previously called the experience of being turned away by Davis "devastating".

Since refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples applying to get married, Davis has spent time in jail, been skewered on billboards, and-perhaps worst of all-was mocked by '80s rock band Survivor.

"When Kentucky clerk of court Kim Davis made her religious stand against marriage equality, she won many fans in the evangelical community and made a martyr of herself in her refusal to recognize others" humanity. "We are confident we will prevail".

Now, the case gets kicked back to the US district judge.

Four couples (two same-sex ones and two straight ones) sued Davis over her actions, with help from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).

The couple's lawyer, Michael Gartland, added that it was the correct decision because his clients "still went through emotional distress and had their constitutional rights violated when they were denied".