Matt Bevin is a staunch opponent of gay marriage — once saying it would lead to parents marrying their children — and he rode that wave of ignorance and hate on the coattails of bigot county clerk Kim Davis into the office of governor of Kentucky last fall. And he smiled smugly saying it was his alliance with Davis that helped him win.
Then he made the decision that the clerk’s names would no longer appear on marriage licenses in the state so that Kim Davis would not get arrested again. And he smiled smugly about that, too.
Now, though, the smile is less smug because smugness costs. See, now Bevin, as governor, must pay the legal expenses of the lawyers who won that historic Supreme Court ruling last June setting aside bans against gay marriage in Kentucky and across the land. And the bill for that nine-lawyer team is a shade over $2 million dollars — thank you Kentucky taxpayers including Kim Davis — and under federal law, the governor has no choice but to pay the bill.
The day after the election, former Governor Steve Beshear offered to settle with the plaintiffs’ lawyers for $581,000 — about 25% of the bill — and they rejected his proposal outright; same-sex marriage attorney called his offer “infuriating.” And Bevin could just wait for Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson III to decide what constitutes a reasonable fee, but the plaintiffs’ lawyers could appeal that amount, and usually the parties just settle.
In Ohio and Michigan, where the same-sex marriage bans were struck down along with Kentucky’s, the Republican governors settled for $1.3 million and $1.9 million, respectively. In Tennessee, whose case was argued with Kentucky’s, the lawyers have asked for $2.3 million.
In Kentucky, meanwhile, Governor Matt Bevin, his spokeswoman Jessica Ditto, and his general counsel, M. Stephen Pitt, are not commenting.
Not even with a smug smile.