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Kim Davis may have to pay hefty fine for refusing marriage licenses

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Lawyers for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin would like to take Kim Davis to task financially, asking that the former Rowan County Clerk pay upwards of $225,000 in legal fees to the same-sex couples she refused marriage licenses to in 2015. 

The lawyers describe her actions as “conduct that violates civil rights,” and say she should be responsible for court costs after the couples sued her for not abiding by the Supreme Court ruling. 

Gov. Bevin (R) was one of Davis' biggest supporters and called her “an inspiration ... to the children of America" at the time. But his legal representation is a little more damning in their assessment saying that Davis failed to do her job.   

On Thursday a panel of three judges at the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear arguments about where the financial responsibility falls. 

In 2017 a district judge ruled that the state of Kentucky should pay the lofty sum. 

Bevin's council appealed that judgment saying Davis acted alone without the state's endorsement. 

“Her local policy stood in direct conflict with her statutory obligation to issue marriage licenses to qualified Kentucky couples. The local policy also undermined the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s interest in upholding the rule of law,” Bevin attorney Palmer G. Vance II wrote in one brief.

Rowan County attorneys and those representing Davis say neither she nor the county should pay the couples' court costs and it's the state that should foot the bill. The county citing that Davis' policies were not under their control.

While Davis says her authority came directly from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Wrote Davis attorney Roger K. Gannam in one brief: “To the extent any fee award stands, the liability of the commonwealth should be affirmed because Davis at all times pursued and upheld commonwealth policy." Adding, "Marriage licensing is a quintessentially and exclusively state-level function in Kentucky.”

If the couples prevail in the 6th court, they are expected to seek out additional fees above the $225,000 for the additional legal process.