A gay man who was denied a marriage license by the former Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis will now be her challenger in next year’s election.
David Ermold, a 43-year-old English teacher, has announced that he will run for the clerk’s seat to “restore professional leadership, fairness, and responsibility to the clerk’s office,” per the Lexington Herald Leader.
“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,” Ermold said. “I will build upon the successes of the past, and I will seek solutions for the challenges we may still face.”
Davis is the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, who gained international notoriety in August 2015 when she defied a U.S. federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples due to her Apostolic Pentecostal Christian faith. Her wilful defiance of the law resulted in her spending six days in jail for contempt of court.
Davis has already announced that she will run for re-election, this time as a Republican, the party she switched to after the controversy over her refusal to issue licenses for same-sex marriages erupted.
Ernold told Western Kentucky University Radio:
“If Kim Davis was reelected in that position without an appropriate fight, I’d probably regret it for the rest of my life.”
Speaking to the Greenfield Recorder, Ernold said:
“I think I could win. I don’t think that she has learned anything from the experience at all…I really, truly think that she feels like she is right. I really don’t think she cares at all about what civil rights are.”
Davis managed to keep her job as county clerk despite her refusal to follow the law only because the Kentucky state legislature changed the state law requiring the signature of a county clerk on marriage licenses. Many of the residents of Rowan County are furious that because of Davis’ intransigence, the state of Kentucky must pay $220,000 in legal costs for the American Civil Liberties Union lawyers who represented the gay couples suing Davis.
The upcoming election will be the first time since the controversy that local voters will be able to hold Davis accountable for her failure to follow the law and instead substitute her own extremist beliefs, in a clear and flagrant violation of the separation of church and state.