Seven years after a former county clerk from Kentucky refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, a court in the US has cleared the decks for her to be sued for damages.

US District Judge David Bunning said that former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis had violated the rights of the same-sex couples in 2015, when she refused to issue marriage licenses to them citing her Christian religious beliefs. The court also rejected a request from Davis seeking immunity from being sued. 

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The jury will decide whether Davis should pay damages to the two couples David Ermold and David Moore and of James Yates and Will Smith who had sued her. 

Clerk Cites Religious Beliefs TO Deny Marriage Licenses

Davis had stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples after the landmark US Supreme Court  Obergefell v. Hodges judgment in 2015 that made same-sex marriages legal. 

Davis found her fifteen seconds of fame when the news of her refusal to marry gay couples was reported across the world. Gay couples sued her and she spent five days in jail for contempt of court, before her office started issuing marriage licenses in her absence. 

In 2018, she lost her bid to get re-elected. Davis claimed that she enjoyed immunity as a government official from being sued and marrying same-sex couples would violate her constitutional right to the free exercise of her religion. 

Couples Happy To Get Day In Court

The judge ruled that “Davis cannot use her own constitutional rights as a shield to violate the constitutional rights of others while performing her duties as an elected official,” reported USA Today. 

Michael Gartland, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, told WKYT that the two gay couples had been waiting since 2015 and “couldn’t be more happy that they’re finally going to get their day in court”.

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