Kim Davis rocketed into headlines in 2015 when as Rowan County, Kentucky\s clerk she defied a Supreme Court order and refused marriage licences for LBGT couples. Kentucky’s Republican Governor Matt Bevin says Davis is on the hook for the legal fees of the couples she refused to serve.
Davis became a star on the right after following the lead of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who encouraged states to defy the Supreme Court’s holding in Obergerfell v. Hodges which guaranteed a federal right to marry.
Davis managed to parlay her homophobic stances into fifteen minutes of fame, even getting a meeting with Pope Francis (who, it must be said, claims he had no idea who she was). She received an award from the SPLC-designated hate group Family Research Council. When she was released from jail where she was held for refusal to comply with court orders, Kim Davis was escorted by former Presidential contender Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee went on to write the forward for Davis’ memoir “Under God’s Authority“, where she condemned “fist-pounding homosexuals”.
Even Matt Bevin, who now wants her to pay the legal fees of gay couples she refused to serve, called her inspirational.
Bevin’s souring on Davis is a microcosm of Kentucky’s souring on her. She lost her reelection bid to stay Rowan County’s clerk in 2018 and has largely faded from the public consciousness. So when Kentucky taxpayers were ordered to pay the legal fees of the victims of Davis’ defiance, it’s little wonder that Matt Bevin was inspired by her in a very different way.
Bevin’s attorney Steve Pitt clarified that he is not suing Davis to recoup the legal fees because he disagrees with her. He still does. But he doesn’t want Kentucky taxpayers to be left liable for the legal fees resulting from Davis’ actions.
While her star is faded somewhat at home, Davis has taken her crusade abroad. She’s campaigned against gay marriage in Romania in 2017 — a place, it should be noted, that only dedicated activists seem to know her at all.
Of course, with the current make-up of the Supreme Court, there’s always a chance for Obegerfell to be relitigated, and for Davis to find the limelight she’s clearly been missing.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.