Kim Davis Trial Begins Monday

Sep 8, 2023

ASHLAND, KY – Jury selection begins on Monday, September 11, 2023, in the trial before U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning. The question for the jury will be the amount of damages, if any, former Rowan County Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis is liable for in Ermold v. Davis and Yates v. Davis. Juries will be selected for both cases simultaneously. 

Liberty Counsel argues that Davis is not liable for any damages because she was entitled to a religious accommodation from issuing marriage licenses under her name and authority that conflict with her religious beliefs. When the newly elected Republican Governor Matt Bevin took office in December 2015, he granted religious accommodation to all clerks by Executive Order. Then in April 2016, the legislature unanimously granted religious and conscience accommodation to all clerks from issuing marriage licenses that conflict with their religious beliefs.

The Ermold and Yates cases each involve a same-sex couple who sued Davis in 2015 following the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision regarding “same-sex marriage.” The district court entered judgment against Davis in both cases, holding that she is personally liable to the plaintiffs by not issuing marriage licenses during the pendency of her request for religious accommodation. 

However, Davis was entitled to an accommodation of her sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage under both the First Amendment and Kentucky law and she should not be held liable for requesting an accommodation, which she did receive in December 2015. 

Moreover, the plaintiffs suffered no damages because they could have obtained marriage licenses from any nearby clerk’s office. The plaintiffs instead created a shame case by intentionally targeting Kim Davis because of her religious beliefs. 

This case has the potential to go to the U.S. Supreme Court where Kim Davis will argue for religious freedom and also that Obergefell should be overturned. Three of the five justices in the Obergefell majority are no longer on the Court. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Kim Davis is entitled to an accommodation of her religious beliefs under the First Amendment and under Kentucky law. This case could eventually bring down the Supreme Court’s marriage opinion that has no basis in the Constitution.” 

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