The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Monday filed a lawsuit against Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in an attempt to recover legal fees stemming from a lawsuit over her refusal to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

The ACLU is asking a federal court to award it $233,058 to cover legal expenses associated with the lawsuit.

“Courts recognize that when successful civil rights plaintiffs obtain a direct benefit from a court-ordered victory, such as in this case, they can be entitled to their legal expenses to deter civil rights violations by government officials,” William Sharp, ACLU of Kentucky legal director, explained in a statement.

“By filing today's motion, we hope to achieve that very objective – to send a message to government officials that willful violations of individuals' rights will be costly,” he added.

Davis is being sued in her official capacity as the clerk of Rowan County. The county is also named as a defendant. That is, Davis is not being asked to personally pay the fees.

Davis became a Christian celebrity when she refused to let her office issue marriage licenses to gay couples in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling. She said that doing so would violate her conscience.

The ACLU won a preliminary injunction against Davis. But after Kentucky lawmakers approved a law that removed the county clerk's name from such licenses, the lawsuit was dismissed as moot.

Mat Staver, who represented Davis in the action, called the ACLU's motion a “Hail Mary.”

“The case is now closed and the door has been shut on the ACLU's attempt to assess damages against Kim Davis,” he said in a statement.

The ACLU argued that its initial win “is sufficient to confer prevailing party status” and the right to recoup legal fees.