In 2015, Kim Davis Denied Him A Marriage License. In 2018, He’ll Run Against Her.

“This is not political revenge. The campaign that I am running in one of unity.”

In September 2015, the debate over marriage equality hit a boiling point in Kentucky — as Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis repeatedly denied David Ermold and David Moore a marriage license, defying the Supreme Court's ruling. Now Ermold is going into politics, and he's running for Kim Clark's seat as county clerk.


The clash between Davis and the would-be grooms quickly became a national news story, particularly with footage of their arguments in her office.

"I'm not being disrespectful to you," Davis said at one point.

"You absolutely have disrespected us," Ermold replied.

Davis was jailed for contempt of court and released five days later, and a Kentucky law was changed so her name wouldn't appear on marriage licenses, as BuzzFeed News reports. Ermold and Moore later got married with a license from one deputy in the clerk's office, and they still have a pending damages lawsuit against Davis.

Now, however, Ermold has announced his intention to run against Davis and succeed her as Rowan County clerk. He even came face-to-face with Davis again on December 5 as he filled out election paperwork.

Still, Ermold explained to BuzzFeed News that he's not interested in "rehashing the past" or even getting back at Davis.

"This is not political revenge," he said. "The campaign that I am running in one of unity and bringing people together."

Ermold, an associate professor of English at the University of Pikeville, told BuzzFeed News he'd bring leadership, fairness, and responsibility to the role of Rowan County Clerk. 

"I am running to restore the people's confidence in our clerk's office and because I believe that the leaders of our community should put the needs of their constituents first, and they should always be an example of integrity and fairness," he says on his campaign website.

Talking to The Daily Beast, Ermold elaborated on his vision: "We're going to restore a little bit of integrity in that office and hopefully send a message to the rest of the politicians that are a little bit higher up the ladder that they can embrace real issues, they can embrace equality, they can embrace diversity and unity, and that should be what they're after."

"Too many political figures are intent on dividing our people, and pitting one person against the other," he added in his interview with BuzzFeed News. "This type of leadership has to stop."

And though he's not out for revenge, he is trying to put his marriage license saga behind him.

"It's not settling a score," he told The Daily Beast. "In fact, I'll tell you exactly what it is: This is going to bring closure. Whether I win or lose, this brings closure to everything. It puts a period at the end of this story."


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