From AU's Wall of Separation Blog
Kim Davis’ legal woes aren’t quite over yet. The office of the State Attorney General announced yesterday that the embattled Rowan County clerk may have violated the Kentucky Open Records Act when she refused to comply with a records request from a Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Campaign for Accountability filed the request on March 1, asking specifically to see “retainer agreements and attorney-client engagement agreements” between Davis and Liberty Counsel. A spokesperson told the Herald-Leader the watchdog wants to know more about the Religious Right group’s activities.
But Davis and Liberty Counsel don’t want to cooperate.
“There’s nothing to reveal here,” said Mat Staver, the group’s founder and lead attorney. Staver, who says he represents Davis for free, told the state that the requested documents are legally exempt from review.
The attorney general’s office asked to examine the documents in a private review to determine if they are indeed exempt from the open-records laws. Liberty Counsel refused even this request. That, the attorney general’s office says, goes too far.
“An agency cannot benefit from intentionally frustrating the attorney general’s review of an open records request. Such result would subvert the General Assembly’s intent behind providing review by the attorney general,” said Assistant Attorney General Matt Jones. The attorney general’s opinion carries the force of law, and Staver is considering his options.
Meanwhile, Staver and Davis have other concerns. The clerk is on the receiving end of yet another lawsuit. Chris Sevier filed suit against the clerk yesterday, arguing that Davis has violated his constitutional right to marry…his laptop computer.
Sevier says he arrived at the Rowan County clerk’s office with marriage license and laptop in tow only to be turned away. His suit names Davis, Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and State Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) as co-defendants.
Staver slammed the “frivolous” lawsuit in a statement. “There is obviously no right for a man to marry a machine. When you make gender irrelevant to a gender-based relationship you open Pandora’s box and make a mockery out of marriage,” he added.
But Staver omitted an important fact from his statement: He and Sevier are actually on the same side of the marriage equality debate. Sevier isn’t trying to legalize man-machine love; he’s trying to undermine marriage rights for same-sex couples. The Houston Press reported in April that Sevier, who graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Law, filed similar suits in Texas and Florida because he vehemently opposes the U.S. Supreme Court’s verdict in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“The question is, should we have policies that encourage that kind of lifestyle?” Sevier told the Press at the time. “The state is not doing anyone any favors by encouraging people to live that lifestyle. We have to define marriage.”
Sevier’s lawsuits are almost certainly doomed. His law career may be as well: He lost his law license due to a mental illness he says he acquired as a result of his military service, and he’s faced criminal charges for stalking country singer John Rich and a teenage girl.
Davis has nothing to fear from Sevier and his beloved laptop. The Kentucky Attorney General’s office, however, is quite another story. Staver seems determined to steer her into ever choppier legal waters.
Follow Sarah Jones online at @onesarahjones