Kentucky’s Rowan county town clerk Kim Davis was internationally vilified when she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses after they were recognised in the state in 2015.
Now, one of the people she refused to license, Prof David Ermold, is to stand for election against her in 2018.
Here’s the story so far…
This is the moment that started what would become a two year ongoing battle between Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and local gay men David Ermold and his partner David Moore. Ermold has lived with Moore in the small town of Morehead, Kentucky (population 6,875) for over 10 years and lectures at the local university.
July 2015 – Meeting Kim Davis
After hearing of other couples (both same-sex and heterosexual couples) requests for a marriage licence being turned away, the pair went to the County Courthouse and filmed proceedings.
They are left waiting for over 10 minutes before a sheriff comes to the courthouse and Kim Davis is seen. The clip cuts out, under her orders, before we see the denial take place however during the clip a man from behind the counter can be heard telling them that they “do not sell marriage licenses and they can go to any of the surrounding counties to obtain one”.
This happened two months after the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage meaning she was violating direct federal orders from her superiors by refusing to administer marriage licenses.
August 2015 – Imaginary Appeals
The court ruled an injunction stating that the County Clerk, Kim Davis has to issue marriage licenses immediately. Davis appealed the injunction, however, this was not upheld by the court. They visited the Courthouse for a second time, this time with more press in tow. Even though they provide their own paperwork and Kim Davis is absent, they are refused a license once again.
An employee can be seen being physically aggressive with Ermold and Moore while telling them once more to go to another jurisdiction. The Courthouse is now in direct violation of a court injunction and even when they ring Judge-Executive Walter Blevins they are still refused a license.
Ermold states, “It is a complete embarrassment that we have to pay any taxes in this county whatsoever for people who don’t do their job that’s the bottom line. We pay for these services.”
September 2015 – “Taxation without Representation”
After gaining considerable press coverage on their second attempt, they return with an army of local news broadcasters, photographers, protesters and other locals in similar situations. This time the debate between the county clerk and the couple got very heated. When Davis was asked by Moore “under whose authority are you not issuing marriage licenses” she responds with “under gods authority”.
It ended with a sheriff stating that “the federal court will decide on the next course of action” and that “she will likely be found in contempt of court”. It ended with calls for Davis to “do her job” and “resign”. One protester contacted the ACLU to request they file a motion for contempt. All three videos have been viewed nearly 2 million times.
“Telling people to go to another county is like saying, ‘We don’t want your kind of people here,’ ” Mr Moore said.
September 2015 – Kim Davis is Jailed
Even though “the Davids” were only seeking to have her fined, the presiding judge found her in contempt of court and didn’t feel a fine would be enough to get her to comply and so she was sent to jail. Even after sentencing, she continued to defy the judge stating her “conscience will not allow” her to adhere to the court’s demands. Deputy Clerks in the County Court began issuing marriage licences. One such license was issued to David Ermold and David Moore.
September 2015 – Marriage At Last
The pair wed in a private ceremony stating that so much of their quest to be married was played out in the public eye and they wanted to have at least the wedding as private as possible. They were wed at their alma mater, Moorhead State.
“If same-sex marriage is still an issue five years from now, I want people to be able to be open about who they are and not be afraid of who they are,” said Ermold. “This is the only life we get.”
September 2015 – Kim Davis’ Release
She was released from prison a mere 5 days after she was sent to jail. Her sentence was lifted as her deputy clerks had begun issuing marriage licenses and she was ordered to not interfere with their efforts.
After her release, Mike Huckabee who ran in the 2016 Republican primaries against Donald Trump said “God showed up. He showed up in the form of an elected Democrat named Kim Davis.”
December 2017 – Ermold Runs For County Clerk
Two years after their initial meeting, Ermold and Davis meet again in the County Clerks office when, by chance, she was the person who processed Ermold’s candidancy for Rowan County Clerk.
Ermold stated that it was Kim Davis’ most recent actions that prompted his interest in running. She visited Romania to campaign against equal marriage. He does state that he has been long interested in politics, the catalyst of this being the 2016 election of Donald Trump.
“I was very disappointed in the presidential election, and I think there needs to be more integrity,” he said. “I think politicians need to answer some questions.”
He is confident in his ability to defeat Davis but said it would not be easy as she has a wide network of people willing to fund her campaign. Ms Davis is also very optimistic about her chances of winning. Her lawyer has stated:
“She’s not really concerned about David filing to run,” Staver told NBC News. “I talked to her about it, and her reaction is, David has no idea how to run a clerk’s office and has never had any experience.”
Although Ermold is heavily involved in the local LGBT+ Pride group, he stated that his campaign will not focus solely on LGBT+ issues.
“People are bickering and fighting with each other. This campaign we are putting together is about unity and bringing people together and restoring fairness.”
© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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