The Kentucky county clerk who in 2015 gained widespread attention for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples may be sued for damages by two of those couples, a federal appeals court ruled late on Friday.
In a 3-0 decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said Kim Davis can be sued in her individual capacity, though sovereign immunity shielded her from being sued in her former role as Rowan County Clerk.
Davis claimed that Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, did not apply to her because she stopped issuing licenses to everyone regardless of sexual orientation, and the plaintiffs could have obtained licenses elsewhere.
The above news was initially eclipsed by a separate ruling yesterday by the same court, which upheld an earlier $224,000 judgment against Kentucky for legal fees incurred by the couples that sued after Davis refused to issue their licenses. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, had fought the judgment, arguing that Davis should pay it personally, not the state.