The Gay Man Who Fought Kim Davis To Get Married Might Now Run Against Her

by Priscilla Totiyapungprasert
Ty Wright/Getty Images News/Getty Images

After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was not one of the people celebrating. Davis gained national infamy for defying the federal court order by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming that it went against her religious beliefs. But as the saying goes, what comes around goes around. One of the men she denied a marriage license to, David Ermold, might run against Davis in her 2018 bid for reelection in Kentucky.

Ermold and his now-husband, David Moore, were one of many couples that sued Davis in 2015. U.S. District Judge David Bunning threw their case out along with two other lawsuits, but a court of appeals ruled a year and half later that the men suing Davis could continue their case.

Meanwhile, Ernold is seriously considering his first run for public office. He told the Associated Press he believes he could win, but is concerned about raising money for his first campaign. At the time of writing, Davis had not responded to Ermold's comments.

After the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry, Davis refused to comply, citing "God's authority." Davis believes in Apostolic Christianity, an offshoot of Pentecostalism that is rooted in a literal interpretation of the Bible. Ermold and Moore were at the county court and squared off against Davis in a video that went viral.

Couples represented by the American Civil Liberties Union successfully sued her at the time, and the U.S. District Court ordered her to start issuing marriage licenses. Again she refused, and Davis spent five days in jail in September 2015.

“If I could be remembered for one thing, it’s that I was not afraid to not compromise myself," Davis told AP. Thrust in the spotlight for actions that were both vilified by the public and lauded by homophobes, the county clerk told AP she prayed for those who disagreed with her and she feels the pace of social change has “awakened” Christians across the country.

Republican primary candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were applauding Davis when she walked out of jail smiling to a hero's welcome. Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" blared out of a speaker, much to the dismay of Survivor's frontman Frankie Sullivan.

Ermold's potential race against Davis for the county clerk position echoes some of the races in the 2017 election. Danica Roem, 33, became the first openly transgender woman to win a seat in a state legislature, the Virginia House of Delegates' 13th District. She beat the 73-year-old incumbent, Republican Bob G. Marshall, who introduced one of the anti-transgender bathroom bills. Throughout the campaign, Marshall had refused to refer to Roem using female pronouns.

Roem's win was hailed as a significant achievement. “Danica Roem’s historic victory is a clear warning to anti-equality lawmakers across the country that the days of attacking LGBTQ people to scare up votes are over,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

And in Virginia, too, the boyfriend of a gun victim defeated an NRA-backed opponent. Chris Hurst, a 30-year-old former television journalist, lost his girlfriend, Alison Parker, after a former colleague fatally shot Parker and her cameraman on live TV.

In an op-ed for the Daily Beast, Hurst said he left journalism and was running for a seat in the 12th District of Virginia to "fight for the causes" he and Parker valued most. His campaign included a promise to reduce gun violence.

After a barrier-breaking 2017 election, where women, people of color, and LGBTQ candidates triumphed over their Republican opponents, a potential Ermold-versus-Davis showdown in Kentucky would certainly be one to watch.