Gay Couple Awarded Large Sum Of Money By Jury After Marriage License Denial

Gold wedding rings on LGBT pride flag.

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A federal jury has awarded $100,000 to a Kentucky couple who filed a lawsuit against former county clerk Kim Davis for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis, the former Rowan County clerk, gained international attention in 2015 when she was briefly incarcerated due to her refusal, citing her belief that marriage should exclusively involve a man and a woman.

In Ashland, Kentucky, a jury deliberated and decided to grant David Ermold and David Moore $50,000 each as damages, according to Davis's legal representatives. Another couple, James Yates and Will Smith, who had also sued Davis, received no damages from U.S. District Judge David Bunning on the same day.

In 2015, Bunning sentenced Davis to a five-day jail term for contempt of court. She was only released after her staff issued marriage licenses with her name omitted from the form. Subsequently, Kentucky's state legislature passed a law eliminating county clerks' names from state marriage licenses.

Last year, Bunning ruled that Davis had violated the constitutional rights of the two couples, leading to the recent trials to determine damages. Davis had contended that the legal concept of qualified immunity protected her from being held liable for damages by the couples.

Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, which represented Davis, expressed the intention to appeal the decision and take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Davis's legal team in 2020.

Ermold made an unsuccessful bid for the position of Rowan County clerk in 2018, when Davis was defeated by another Democrat.

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