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Kim Davis denied him a marriage license. Now he wants her job

Linda Blackford, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in News & Features

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- David Ermold, one of the men denied a same-sex marriage license by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in 2015, hopes to challenge her for the clerk's seat next year, he announced Wednesday.

Davis set off an international furor when she denied a marriage license to Ermold and his partner, David Moore, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right for same-sex couples to marry.

Davis, who said providing the license violated her religious beliefs, continued to withhold the license, even after a federal judge ordered her to issue it, and was jailed briefly. The issue was solved when one of her deputies, Brian Mason, agreed to issue licenses, and in 2016 the Kentucky General Assembly established an alternate license.

Mason is still issuing same-sex marriage licenses, he said Wednesday.

"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," said Ermold, 43, who teaches English at the University of Pikeville and directs Morehead Pride, a local gay rights organization. "My commitment to Rowan County is to restore professional leadership, fairness, and responsibility to the clerk's office. I will build upon the successes of the past, and I will seek solutions for the challenges we may still face."

Ermold is one of four Democrats seeking the nomination to challenge Davis, who changed her registration from Democrat to Republican in 2015. The others are James L. Jessee, Elwood Caudill and Nashia Fife, according to the Kentucky Office of the Secretary of State.

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Davis, who has been married to opposite sex partners four times, has already said she will run for re-election. She has been County Clerk since 2014, although she worked for her mother, who was also clerk, before being elected to the position. Her son, Nathan Davis, also works in the clerk's office.

Davis processed Ermold's paperwork at the clerk's office on Wednesday, where she shook hands with him and said "may the best candidate win," according to The Associated Press.

Ermold said he would bring more professionalism to the clerk's office, which includes not hiring family and friends, and do a better job helping to register voters and facilitate voting.

"The county clerk's office has been in the hands of the same family for almost 35 years," Ermold said. "I think there's' the potential they want to keep it in the family. But everyone should have a fair shot, it should not be something that's handed down from mother to daughter and from daughter to son."

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