GOP Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who rode the Kim Davis controversy to victory in last month’s election, has inherited a $2 million bill for his predecessor’s legal fight against same-sex marriage.
Bevin (above center), who once said same-sex marriage would lead to parents marrying their children, stood firmly behind Davis (above right) when the Rowan County clerk was jailed for refusing to issue licenses to gay couples in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell. Bevin also accused Democratic opponent Jack Conway, who declined to defend the state’s marriage ban as attorney general, of failing to protect the religious freedom of county clerks. Bevin’s predecessor, Gov. Steve Brashear, defended the marriage ban when Conway refused to do so.
Last week, Bevin issued an executive order removing clerks’ names from marriage licenses, claiming that this will somehow protect the religious liberties of anti-gay clerks like Davis. But now Kentucky’s first Republican governor in four decades is about to get a taste for the high cost of discrimination. Attorneys for same-sex couples who challenged the state’s marriage ban are requesting more than $2 million in compensation from the sate.
From The Courier-Journal:
The day after the election, Beshear offered to settle with the plaintiffs’ lawyers for $581,000 – barely more than one-fourth of what they were seeking. They rejected the proposed deal, which attorney Laura Landenwich called “infuriating.”
Bevin could wait for Senior U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III to decide what constitutes a reasonable fee. But the plaintiffs’ lawyers could appeal that amount, and usually the parties settle. …
Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto and his general counsel, M. Stephen Pitt, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Bevin’s response to the attorneys’ request could be an indicator of just far he plans to go in fighting LGBT rights. In his inaugural address, Bevin pledged to resist the federal government under the 10th Amendment:
“We are going to exercise that sovereignty, exercise that authority and we are going to stand on our rights and do what is correct and best for the people of Kentucky,” he said.
Anti-LGBT activists have called upon Bevin to invoke “nullification” the idea that states can annul federal directives they believe are unconstitutional, to fight same-sex marriage. The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission wrote in an email earlier this month:
Congratulations Matt Bevin on being elected governor of Kentucky and for standing up for marriage. Over 74% of Kentucky voters affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, but the U.S. Supreme Court created legal chaos by issuing an unconstitutional opinion. We need principled leadership now. …
Governor Bevin, we need Kentucky to once again lead the nation. Contact Governor Bevin and urge him to protect marriage and nullify the rogue Supreme Court opinion.
Watch Bevin speak at a rally for Davis below.