LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Federal appeals judges have upheld a ruling that the state of Kentucky must pay $224,000 in legal expenses stemming from a former county clerk's refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

News outlets report a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Friday upheld a 2017 ruling that the state must pay attorney fees and costs incurred by same-sex couples who sued.

Lawyers for Gov. Matt Bevin, who supported former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis when he ran for election in 2015, argued in January that Davis should pay the fees, not the state. A Bevin spokesman said in a statement, "We respect the court's decision."

The lower court ruling said the state should pay because it's primarily responsible for regulating marriage.

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