Man Denied Marriage License May Challenge Kim Davis

David Ermold and Kim Davis

After learning that Kim Davis would seek reelection to her county clerk position, the man who began the legal saga that landed Davis in jail announced today he may challenge her in next year’s election for Rowan County Clerk. David Ermold and his husband David Moore were the couple who made the now-infamous video of Moore denying the couple a marriage license using her religious beliefs as justification for refusing to carry out her legal duties. NPR learned of Ermold’s possible candidacy yesterday as Democrats dominated elections across the country.

NPR (WKMS) originally reported:

A gay man who was denied a marriage license by a Kentucky county clerk says he is seriously considering running against her for re-election in 2018.

David Ermold and his now-husband David Moore were refused a marriage license by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in June 2015, shortly after a U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. A video of their experience was viewed by millions online. Ermold and Moore were one of many couples to sue Davis. Their case is still pending.

An attorney for Davis told The Associated Press she will seek a second term. Ermold said he believes he could win, but he is concerned about raising money for his first run for public office.

During their visit to the Rowan County Clerk’s office in 2015, Ermold and Moore demonstrated why Kim Davis is unfit to continue serving the public. We reported at the time:

The video demonstrates the trouble with inserting “religious conscious” laws into secular government. Though any one of the several employees inside the Rowan County Clerk’s office could have been designated to distribute marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Davis not only flatly refused the couple (in violation not only of federal law but also her own state’s recently-issued edict ordering legal compliance) but treated them horribly in the process.

That refusal garnered national attention as Davis refused to back down from her ‘religious liberty’ defense to refusing to carry out her elected government duties. After courts eventually ordered her to carry out the duties of her office, Davis refused and was eventually jailed for contempt of court.

As lawsuits against her proceeded, Davis eventually cost Kentucky taxpayers thousands of dollars in court costs as she was not held personally liable since both Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin as well as the Republican-dominated state legislature sided with her in discriminating against LGBTQ couples.

At one point in the multiple times the couple attempted to obtain a marriage license, Davis argued, “I’m willing to face my consequences as you all will face your consequences when it comes time for judgment.”

Though she escaped personal judgment in escaping personal liability for court costs, Ermold’s announcement may be the beginning of the consequences she foreshadowed (just as bathroom bill-proposing Bob Marshall was just ejected from his seat in another state by a transgender woman).

In a Facebook post offering brief commentary on the NPR reporting, Ermold simply said, “Happy thoughts.”


Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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