Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Wins, Won’t Be Forced to Pay Attorneys’ Fees

Barb Wire

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis more than paid the price for her beliefs after spending six days in jail, but the ACLU still wasn’t satisfied. The ultra-liberal groups thought she should pay the real cost too — a whopping $231,000 in attorneys’ fees. Davis, who became the surprise face of the religious liberty debate when she asked that her name be removed from a same-sex marriage license, was finally vindicated last year when Governor Matt Bevin (R-Ky.) signed a law giving clerks the accommodation she asked for. Like millions of Americans, he agrees that Christians should be able to live out their faith — at home or work — without worrying about behind hauled away in handcuffs.

We celebrated with Kim, certain that her nightmare was finally over. Not so fast, said the ACLU, which was determined to exact even more for Davis’s First Amendment rights. Fortunately, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Atkins realized the ridiculousness of their claim and ruled against the group. “The plaintiffs are not ‘prevailing parties’… and are therefore not entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees,” he wrote. Liberty Counsel, which has represented Kim from the beginning, saw the ACLU’s push for what it was. “The ACLU and others still want to punish Kim Davis for daring to take a stand for religious liberty,” said Horatio Mihet, “but today the court recognized that the ACLU does not deserve to get paid for its bullying.”

The ACLU said it was entitled to the money because it had to “go through the expense of that litigation to secure a basic right that should not have been denied eligible couples in the first place.” Of course, that basic right was never denied. Kim simply referred couples to another clerk in her office. But then, the truth has never been the Left’s strong suit. Still, as Mihet pointed out, Kim is the real winner here. “[She] never violated her conscience, and she still has her job and her freedom — that is a win for Kim and for all Americans who want to perform public service without being forced to compromise their religious liberties.”

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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