The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously this past Friday that former Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis can be sued as an individual.
On Sept. 3, 2015, Davis was held in contempt of Kentucky courts for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis was later ordered by a U.S. District court to start issuing marriage licenses. Davis claimed that the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman, was not at the root of her actions.
The couples who had been denied marriage licenses at that time may now choose to file a lawsuit against her as an individual.
Davis filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, but her application was denied.
The state of Kentucky was found responsible for the payment of $224,000 in damages to the affected couples.
Because sovereign immunity protects certain government employees, preventing them from being sued in their official role, Davis was able to avoid owing any of the fines herself.
Since Davis was actively serving as a county clerk, she was initially free from any personal repercussions.
“(Davis) did act on behalf of the state, but no individual should benefit from sovereign immunity. A state is not just one person. The decisions that a state makes come from its people and its governing bodies, who all act together,” Molly Schramm, senior advertising major and member of the LGBTQ Alliance Executive Board said.
By Aleya Justison | Guest Writer
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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