A federal judge says Kentucky taxpayers still owe nearly $225,000 in legal fees and court costs to the couples who sued a county clerk for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her opposition to same-sex marriage.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning had previously ruled in the couples' favor in July. But Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin asked Bunning to reconsider. The Lexington Herald Leader reports Bunning denied Bevin's request on Monday. Bunning wrote that Bevin fell "woefully short" of convincing him.
The case involves Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who spent five days in jail in 2015 for defying a court order to issue the licenses. Davis ultimately issued the licenses. The state legislature then changed the law to remove clerks' names from the licenses.
Bunning wrote in his opinion that Rowan County was not responsible for paying the legal fees and court costs to the couples because the state, not the county's fiscal court, granted Davis' authority to issue marriage licenses.
"Davis was acting as an agent of the Commonwealth of Kentucky when she refused to issue marraige licenses to legally eligible couples," he wrote.
The state legislature could have impeached Davis, Bunning argued in his opinion, but refused to do so. He also noted that then-Attorney General Jack Conway, declined to pursue criminal penalties against Davis for official misconduct.