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ROWAN COUNTY, Ky.  – A judge has issued a ruling in federal court requiring the state to pay money to couples who were denied marriage licenses by the Rowan County clerk.

In June of 2015, Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to several same-sex couples on the heels of a federal ruling legalizing gay marriage. The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of the couples; April Miller and Karen Roberts, Shantel Burke and Stephen Napier, Jody Fernandez and Kevin Holloway, and L. Aaron Skaggs and Barry W. Spartman.

U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ruled against Davis, awarding the couples more than $222, 695 in attorneys’ fees and $2,008.08 in costs to the plaintiffs.

“We are pleased with today’s ruling, and we hope this serves as a reminder to Kentucky officials that willful violations of individuals’ civil liberties, such as what occurred here, will not only be challenged but will also prove costly,” said William Sharp, legal director ACLU of Kentucky. He added, “It is unfortunate that Kentucky taxpayers will likely bear the financial burden of the unlawful actions and litigation strategies of an elected official, but those same voters are free to take that information into account at the ballot box.”

“We are pleased that neither Kim Davis nor Rowan County are liable for attorney’s fees or costs,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, who represented Kim Davis. “The part of the ruling that finds the plaintiffs were prevailing parties is contrary to the law because the legislature mooted the case by passing a law that provides for the precise religious liberty accommodation Kim Davis sought. While Kim Davis and Rowan County are not liable for fees and costs, neither is the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and this aspect of the ruling will be appealed,” Staver said. “The Magistrate correctly found that the plaintiffs were not the prevailing parties. That ruling is consistent with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Governor Matt Bevin’s executive order and the legislature mooted the case and prevents the plaintiffs from being prevailing parties. Without prevailing party status, there can be no attorney’s fees,” said Staver.

Woody Maglinger, Governor Matt Bevin’s press secretary, released a statement saying: “The state’s outside counsel in the case are reviewing the opinion, and no determination has been made regarding an appeal.”