April 6, 2018 (Liberty Counsel) – Liberty Counsel filed two new briefs in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, seeking dismissal of the 2015 marriage license lawsuits Ermold v. Davis and Yates v. Davis. Both cases were filed by same-sex couples who received marriage licenses in 2015 while Davis was in jail, but who still want to punish Davis.
The Ermold and Yates cases were dismissed in 2016, along with the original 2015 marriage license case Miller v. Davis, because Kentucky's Governor Matt Bevin and the general assembly acted to permanently change Kentucky's marriage licensing laws to protect the religious liberty of Davis and other county clerks. But Ermold and Yates were reinstated following an appeal. The lower court ruled Davis cannot be liable for damages in her official capacity, but allowed the case to proceed against her individually. To succeed, Ermold and Yates would have to show that Davis violated a clearly established law. Since Davis requested a religious accommodation (which was later provided by Gov. Bevin and the legislature) that had never been ruled upon by any court, she would not have violated a clearly established law.
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Today, Davis enjoys the religious accommodation she sought from the beginning. Moreover, the president of the Kentucky Senate filed a brief in support of Davis stating that the laws of Kentucky were shredded by the Supreme Court marriage opinion, and the legislature had to address them to provide guidance to the clerks. In 2016, the legislature unanimously passed a religious accommodation provision.
“Neither Rowan County nor Kim Davis are liable for damages,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Kim Davis sought a religious accommodation, and today every Kentucky clerk benefits from her efforts thanks to Gov. Matt Bevin and the entire general assembly. Davis already paid the high price of going to jail to win her battle for a reasonable accommodation of her religious convictions. Today, Kentucky clerks do not have to choose between their faith and the jobs,” said Staver.
Published with permission from Liberty Counsel.