A federal appeals court on Friday ordered Kentucky to pay $224,000 in legal fees related to a former clerk's refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

In 2015, Kim Davis, the former Rowan County clerk, refused to issue the licenses by “God's authority” after the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry. Several couples successfully sued.

Governor Matt Bevin argued that Davis, not the state, should pay the fees.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a lower court's order stating that Kentucky must foot the bill because it is primarily responsible for regulating marriage in the state.

In a separate ruling involving two couples denied marriage licenses, the judges ruled that the couples could not sue Davis in her former capacity as a county clerk, but could sue her for damages as an individual.

Davis, a Republican, spent several days in jail for refusing to comply with a judge's ruling ordering her to issue the marriage licenses. Davis' stand has turned her into a Christian celebrity.