The clerk of Rowan County, Ky., who famously went to jail in 2015 rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, has lost her bid for reelection, the Lexington Herald Leader reports.
Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr. bested Davis by about 700 votes, the paper reports. Davis had once been a Democrat but changed her party affiliation to Republican in 2015.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling in June 2015, Davis shut down all marriage license operations in Rowan County so she wouldn't have to approve the marriages of same-sex couples, which she said went against her Christian beliefs. Four couples sued, and the resulting actions saw Davis go to jail for contempt of court for five days for disobeying a federal judge's order to resume issuing licenses. She was released after one of her deputies agreed to serve same-sex couples, and the state of Kentucky eventually took county clerks' names off of marriage licenses, an accommodation she had sought.
The race was marred by allegations that Caudill was homophobic. The allegations came from David Ermold, a gay man who had been denied a marriage license by Davis and who then ran against Caudill in the Democratic primary. Ermold said Caudill had used antigay slurs, although he admitted having no firsthand knowledge of this. Ermold went so far as to say he hoped Davis would win, although he did not intend to vote for her.
Caudill denied he was at all homophobic and said some of the accusations came from a hacked Facebook account. And he received the endorsement of C-FAIR, the political action committee of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign, a statewide LGBTQ rights group.
Caudill ran against Davis in 2014 but lost to her by 23 votes.