A gay man who was denied a marriage license by Kim Davis in Rowan County, Ky., is seeking to challenge her for the county clerk position.
David Ermold, who with his partner, David Moore, was denied a licnese in 2015, announced today that he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for county clerk in next year’s election, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Three other Democrats are seeking the nomination, while Davis, a former Democrat, is running for reelection as a Republican.
“I am running to restore the confidence of the people in our clerk’s office and because I believe that the leaders of our community should act with integrity and fairness, and they should put the needs of their constituents first,” said Ermold, 43, according to the paper. “My commitment to Rowan County is to restore professional leadership, fairness, and responsibility to the clerk’s office. I will build upon the successes of the past, and I will seek solutions for the challenges we may still face.” Ermold, 43, is an English professor at the University of Pikeville and director of Morehead Pride.
He and Moore were among the four couples, both gay and straight, who sued Davis in 2015 after she shut down all marriage license operations in the clerk’s office rather than serve same-sex couples after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, as she said same-sex marriage violated her Christian beliefs. A federal judge ordered her to resume issuing licenses, and still she refused.
Ermold and Moore tried to get a license both before and after the court order and were refused a license, although Davis herself was not present the first two times, and they filmed the encounters, They tried a third time and confronted the clerk.
Davis ended up going to jail for five days for contempt of court, and one of her deputies began issuing licenses to same-sex couples. The judge said that met the conditions of his order, and Davis was released. Eventually the state changed its marriage license forms so they did not bear the county clerk’s name. Ermold and Moore finally obtained a license and were married in November 2015.
Davis processed Ermold’s paperwork for his candidacy at the clerk’s office today, the Herald-Leader reports. They shook hands and she told him, “May the best candidate win.”
Davis has been Rowan County clerk since 2014 and worked for her mother, the previous clerk, before that. Her son works in the clerk’s office as well.
“The county clerk’s office has been in the hands of the same family for almost 35 years,” Ermold told the Herald-Leader. “I think there’s the potential they want to keep it in the family. But everyone should have a fair shot. It should not be something that’s handed down from mother to daughter and from daughter to son.”