Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is arguing
in court that former Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is responsible for
paying legal fees related to her decision to stop issuing marriage
licenses to gay and straight couples in 2015.
Davis' office stopped issuing marriage
licenses after the Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples
have a constitutional right to marry. Davis, an Apostolic Christian,
said that signing her name to marriage licenses that involve gay
couples violated her religious beliefs.
Davis' refusal to issue marriage
licenses to same-sex couples landed her five days in jail for
contempt of court and turned her into a Christian celebrity. Last
year, she released her memoir, Under God's Authority: The Kim
(Related: Kim Davis, clerk who refused
marriage licenses to gay couples, says she loves gays.)
After Bevin, a Republican, was elected
governor, he signed a bill into law that removed the names of county
clerks from Kentucky marriage licenses.
On the campaign trail in 2015, Bevin
said that he “absolutely supported” Davis. But in court filings,
the governor's lawyers argue that the state should not have to pay
the more than $222,000 legal bill resulting from her actions.
“[Taxpayers] should not have to
collectively bear the financial responsibility for Davis'
intransigence,” the lawyers wrote. “Only Davis refused to comply
with the law as was her obligation and as required by the oath of
office she took.”
Davis' attorneys argue that she was
acting as an agent for the state.
On Thursday, a federal judge is
expected to hear arguments on whether to award legal fees.