A federal judge has ruled that Kim Davis, a former Kentucky clerk who, in 2015, refused to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing these unions nationwide, violated the constitutional rights of couples seeking that documentation.
"After S-E-V-E-N years, Judge Bunning finally ruled that Kim Davis intentionally violated our constitutional rights," David Ermold, who was a member of one of the couples Davis refused to issue a license to, tweeted in response to the ruling. "Now, the question is will they hold her financially responsible for the insensitive and irrational legal mess that SHE created. It feels like seven years of legal purgatory."
The question as to whether or not Davis will also be responsible for paying the seven years of legal fees of the two couples who took her to court will lie in the hands of a jury, NPR reports. Jurors will decide Davis's liability, which, while undisclosed, likely totals in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Davis, however, isn't ready to stop the fight. In a statement released by Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis, the group said it "will continue to argue that she is not liable for damages because she was entitled to a religious accommodation (which Governor Matt Bevin and the legislature granted)." Claiming that finding Davis liable would violate her First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, Davis's attorneys intend to appeal the ruling.
"This case now clearly presents the free exercise defense and thus could return to the Supreme Court," the group wrote.
According to Davis, her refusal to issue the marriage licenses was in keeping with her religious beliefs as a member of the Apostolic Church. She claimed her refusal was justified "under God's authority."
Couples Ermold and David Moore and James Yates and Will Smith, who were initially denied their licenses, were eventually granted them while Davis was in jail for five days after being found in contempt of court.