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. Now, that ‘stand’ may be coming back to haunt her.
A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that a lawsuit seeking damages against Davis for her obstruction can be revived, meaning that same-sex couples whose lives were impeded by Davis’ failure to carry out her duties may be compensated.
The case was initially struck down in a lower court which claimed that a later law which gave clerks like Davis the ability to grant the licenses without attaching their name to the document. On Tuesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinatti heard the case and reinstated it.
David Ermold and David Moore are seeking damages against Davis for refusing to sign their marriage license in 2015. The couple were not the only one to have been impeded by Davis. Though they were later allowed to receive their valid marriage licenses, they are suing Davis for damages related to the delay.
In 2015, Davis refused to grant marriage licences to same-sex couples despite a recent federal SCOTUS ruling guaranteeing same-sex couples the right to seek and obtain these licenses. Davis, an elected official, used her religious faith as a reason for her refusal, but the SCOTUS ruling overruled her personal beliefs and she was eventually arrested for her violation.
As a result, Davis was hailed by the religious right for her “convictions,” and religious politician Mike Huckabee held a proud press conference with Davis upon her release from jail.
The lawsuit against Davis is not a landmark, big-money trial. Still, for those who felt personally attacked by Davis’ refusal to accept their humanity, requiring her to pay for her crimes will be a healing step in an increasingly divisive America.