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Jury awards $100,000 to Kentucky gay couple denied marriage license

The couple sued former county clerk Kim Davis, who was briefly jailed in 2015 over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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/ Source: The Associated Press

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

Davis, the former Rowan County clerk, drew international attention when?she was briefly jailed in 2015?over her refusal, which she based on her belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

A jury in Ashland, Kentucky, awarded David Ermold and David Moore each $50,000 after deliberating on Wednesday, according to lawyers for Davis. A second couple who sued, James Yates and Will Smith, were awarded no damages on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge David Bunning.

Bunning sent Davis to jail for five days in 2015 after holding her in contempt of court.

David Moore, left, with his husband David Ermold on their wedding day at Morehead State University.
David Moore, left, with his husband, David Ermold, on their wedding day at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky.Courtesy of David Ermold

She was released only after her staff issued the licenses on her behalf but removed her name from the form. Kentucky’s state legislature later enacted a law removing the names of all county clerks from state marriage licenses.

Bunning ruled last year that Davis violated the constitutional rights of the two couples. The trials held this week were held to decide damages against Davis. The former clerk had argued that a legal doctrine called qualified immunity protected her from being sued for damages by the couples.

Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, which represented Davis in the case, said in a release Wednesday they “look forward to appealing this decision and taking this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The U.S. Supreme Court?declined to hear an appeal?from Davis’ lawyers in the case in 2020.

Ermold unsuccessfully ran for clerk of Rowan County in 2018, when Davis was defeated by another Democrat.

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