Taxpayers in Kentucky could be landed with a legal bill of over $2.3 million – after the state’s protracted legal fight against same-sex marriage.
The US Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, bringing equality to all 50 states.
Prior to the ruling, Kentucky’s attorney general had refused to fight against equality in the state, branding it pointless – but Governor Steve Beshear hired private lawyers to continue the legal battle.
However, following the Supreme Court victory for equality, the state must now pick up the tab for the entire legal battle – and it isn’t going to come cheap.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, lawyers representing same-sex couples have handed the state a legal bill of over $2 million in legal fees, court costs and expenses over the case.
Meanwhile, records show that Beshear’s private attorneys were contracted for $260,000 – bringing the cost of the “pointless” case to $2.3 million (£1.4 million).
Kentucky is not the only such state to be landed with huge legal bills after the battle.
Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi was a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage until the very end, claiming in a legal brief that “disrupting Florida’s existing marriage laws would impose significant public harm”, and would cause “significant financial and logistical problems”.
Bondi continued to fight against same-sex marriage until the very week that marriages began, filing desperate attempts to stall on the issue.
However, after her inevitable defeat, she has filed an objection to the costs settlement – with the battle thought to have cost at least $500,000.
Attorney Stephen Rosenthal, who represented a number of couples in the Florida case, said: “It really is the height of hypocrisy to argue we shouldn’t be entitled to fees when they put us through this.”
“They knew full well that if they lost, that they and, frankly taxpayers, would be on the hook for paying for their unwise legal defense of an unconstitutional law.”