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Couple can move forward with lawsuit against Kim Davis

Couple who was refused a marriage license two years ago can sue Davis for punitive damages court rues.
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media2.s-nbcnews.com

The two gentleman who approached the counter asking for, but were denied, a marriage license in Kentucky in 2015 are continuing their lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that their case which was dismissed last year can indeed continue against Davis.

David Ermold and David Moore were featured in a video that circulated the web in 2015. In it, they approach the clerk’s office counter and ask for their marriage license nearly a month after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality.

The staff member on duty says they are not issuing them at this time, and the County Clerk, Davis, would talk to them.

Davis, having become an icon for the religious right became recalcitrant and refused to issue the document because it didn’t fall into her spiritual morals.

She denied all marriage licenses at the time, which drew criticism and three federal court cases against her. One would see her got to jail for three days only to emerge to a rousing crowd of supporters, reactionaries and the song “Eye of the Tiger.”

State lawmakers sided with Davis and created a law which stated that Davis need not appear on the documents, and US District Court Judge Bunning dismissed another case Miller v. Davis as moot.

This moot ruling also canceled out Ermold and Moore’s claim. But there was a difference in their case: they were suing for “actual and punitive damages,” and they appealed the decision.

This past Tuesday The Sixth Circuit Court granted that appeal and allowed them to continue with litigation.

"We conclude that the district court’s characterization of this case as simply contesting the 'no marriage licenses' policy is inaccurate because Ermold and Moore did not seek an injunction — they sought only damages," the court wrote. "This action is not a general challenge to Davis’s policy, but rather seeks damages for a particularized harm allegedly suffered by a specific set of plaintiffs."

They add: "The Supreme Court has held that a damages claim is not rendered moot because a related injunctive-relief claim becomes moot."

According to BuzzFeed, the couple’s lawyer, Thomas Paul Szczygielski is very happy that the lawsuit can move forward, saying, “David and David's damages claims were not mooted by later receiving a marriage license or the Kentucky Senate's decision to remove county clerks' names from marriage-license forms."