Kentucky Taxpayers Facing $2.3 Million Tab In Same-Sex Marriage Case
LEXINGTON — Attorneys who successfully challenged Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage have submitted a bill for more than $2 million in legal fees, court costs and related expenses. Under federal civil-rights law, the state of Kentucky gets stuck with the tab as the losing party in the case.
The private attorneys hired by Gov. Steve Beshear to handle the state's appeals have a $260,000 contract, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. According to state records, $231,348 had been paid by July 20.
The newspaper reports the total cost to Kentucky taxpayers is $2,351,297.
Beshear said Monday he will challenge the plaintiffs' legal bill as "unreasonable."
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III gets the final say on the matter.
The governor acknowledged the state must pay "reasonable attorneys' fees" to the winning side.
In March 2014, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn's ruled that Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. Attorney General Jack Conway immediately announced that he wouldn't appeal the ruling, but Beshear chose to hire outside attorneys to appeal. Beshear chose the Ashland, Ky., firm VanAntwerp, Monge, Jones, Edwards & McCann, LLP to represent the state in the same-sex marriage case.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Kentucky and three other states, ruling last fall that the marriage bans were constitutional. But this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans throughout the U.S.