Dec 7, 2017, 5:07 PM ET

Gay man denied marriage license by Kim Davis challenging her for county clerk: I want to bring 'people back together'

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Two years after Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis denied a marriage license to David Ermold and his partner of more than 15 years, Ermold and Davis are crossing paths once again: He is challenging Davis for her seat.

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Ermold filed on Wednesday to run for Rowan County clerk, with his husband, David Moore, by his side. Ermold is a professor at the University of Pikeville and formerly a professor at the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, where he was named faculty member of the year.

"The message I want to send out is one of bringing people back together," Ermold told ABC News Wednesday. "People are just hurt, people are angry, and we don’t have to follow this path ... We can change."

PHOTO: Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, left, at her side, greets the crowd after being released from the Carter County Detention Center, Sept. 8, 2015, in Grayson, Ky.Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, left, at her side, greets the crowd after being released from the Carter County Detention Center, Sept. 8, 2015, in Grayson, Ky.

In 2015, soon after the Supreme Court upheld the right of same-sex couples nationwide to marry, Ermold went to the county clerk's office with a copy of the ruling in his hand. He was met by a defiant Davis, the chief clerk, who refused to issue a license to him and Moore.

She sparked a national outcry after refusing to issue marriage licenses to many same-sex couples. She was later jailed for nearly a week for violating an order by a federal judge to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

PHOTO: David Moore, center, and his partner David Ermold attempt to apply for a marriage license at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.Timothy D. Easley/AP
David Moore, center, and his partner David Ermold attempt to apply for a marriage license at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.

PHOTO: David Ermold speaks with Clerk Kim Davis as he files to run for Rowan County Clerk Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Morehead, Ky.Adam Beam/AP
David Ermold speaks with Clerk Kim Davis as he files to run for Rowan County Clerk Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Morehead, Ky.

On his third visit to the county clerk's office, Ermold and his partner were finally granted a marriage license from the Rowan County courthouse on September 4, 2015. Kim Davis was in jail at the time. They were married in a public ceremony on October 31.

PHOTO: Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.Timothy D. Easley/AP, FILE
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.

Thinking back to the day when Davis defied the Supreme Court's ruling for him and Moore, Ermold said, "We're looking at an office that touches the lives of everyone in the community."

"We need to reconsider the leadership of our county. We need to reconsider the leadership of our state and maybe our country. Our leaders are dividing us," he said.

Ermold is facing a crowded field, with three other candidates already opposing Davis' re-election. President Donald Trump carried Rowan County over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

PHOTO: A gathering of same sex marriage supporters, left, and supporters of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, face off in front of the Rowan County Courthouse, Sept. 1, 2015, in Morehead, Ky.Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo
A gathering of same sex marriage supporters, left, and supporters of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, face off in front of the Rowan County Courthouse, Sept. 1, 2015, in Morehead, Ky.

PHOTO: Surrounded by Rowan County Sheriffs deputies, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, center, with her son Nathan Davis standing by her side, makes a statement to the media at the front door of the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky.Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo
Surrounded by Rowan County Sheriff's deputies, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, center, with her son Nathan Davis standing by her side, makes a statement to the media at the front door of the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky.

For now, Ermold's focus is on challenging Davis, who he says would rather "saunter off into other countries" than focus on the issues facing Rowan County.

ABC News attempted to reach out to Davis for comment but did not immediately hear back.

Mat Staver, a Liberty Counsel attorney who represents Davis, told ABC News that Ermold has a "personal vendetta" in running and has no experience fit for the job. Staver said Davis also intends on running for re-election and that she "loves her job," which he stressed is more than just issuing marriage licenses.

Ermold, who has lived in the county for 14 years, is ready to challenge those who might say Kentucky isn't ready for a candidate like him.

Responding to critics, Ermold said, "They aren't looking at a larger picture here. They aren't looking at the consequences of what happened in 2015."

"This is the campaign that [voters] need to follow, because it's the one that really is what they've been looking for, for a long time," he said. "Let the people decide."

Ermold is optimistic about his "win-win" campaign, which he hopes will inspire others in the LGBTQ community.

"We're just going to run this campaign," he said. "We're just going to do it because we can and because people came together and they are coming together."

He added, "I know that spirit is out there."

News - Gay man denied marriage license by Kim Davis challenging her for county clerk: I want to bring 'people back together'

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  • c.g.

    Don't you just love these so called religious HYPOCRITES??.....so many who claim to be so "religious" and so godly....just ignore what they want to ignore...ha,ha.

    I get a kick out of the newest wife of Newt Gingrich: Callista who is now the Ambassador to the Vatican. She is "suppose" to be the good Catholic girl who was scrwing her brains out with ole Newt when he was still married to his 3rd wife....who was a bit "busy" fighting cancer.

    After Newt divorced his 3rd wife....he served her divorce papers while she was in the hospital....isn't he a jewel?

    Then he and Callista married.....but the "good" Catholic girl and Newt had to spend a lot of $ and use their influence so that the 3 previous marriages of Newt could all "go away" with the Catholic way of annulment.
    So then Callista was free to marry Newt who even though he divorced all of his other 3 wives....could technically be free to marry her since the Catholic Church just kind of looked the other way...
    Yep...always "loop holes" with religion.......one reason why I am NOT a practicing Catholic.....

  • Jackie

    Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! I just sent a check to the Elect Ermold campaign.

  • YouAreTheWorst

    I made a simple comment earlier that I was no fan of Kim Davis, however, I'd like for my elected officials to run on a more solid platform than simply, "I don't like how that person treated me, so I'm going to run against her."

    And then, my comment was removed by a moderator. Really? Are we really policing any opinion we simply disagree with to THAT extent? Quite a sensitive group here that is attracted to this story it seems.

  • Brooks Payne

    I wish him the best of luck. He'll do a better job than she's done.

  • Sandy99

    Davis is in a public job, supported by taxpayer dollars. She cannot serve two masters in her capacity as a public servant. Yet she does, and she still has her job. No one I know personally can refuse to do part of their jobs and still keep their jobs, including myself. I hope David Ermold is victorious.

  • mrstoniwTEXAS

    Good luck!!

  • Jay Phelps

    Much luck to David Ermold!! Davis needs to take her "my intolerance mean more than the law" to her home and keep it there.

  • Bob Bob

    People do need to come together and if Ms. Davis wish to remain on the outside, that is her choice but not what she is being paid for. Good luck to this man.

  • Pologize3

    The bible is very clear about divorce yet Kim Davis has been divorced multiple times.

  • Pologize3

    Kim Davis is fat and the bible is quite clear about gluttony.

  • Pologize3

    LOL. Please let this guy win.

  • xtch3

    Horrible woman. Hope he wins and soundly!

  • DK1

    Hope he wins! I would love to see the reaction from the anti-gay crowd if he then turned around and refused to process marriages for Christians, because it's against his belief system (not that he should do so...but oh the hypocrisy!).

  • Denese

    Go get 'em Dave!!

  • Stan Darsh

    Kim Davis should be sent to the Gulag and re-education camp. Tired of these people.

  • LHarr

    It's all ok, supporters of a particular party don't have to do their job according to the law, it's only supporters of the other party who have to do that.

  • Billy Bob Smith

    This is the problem with a lot of elected positions. There is no mechanism to remove someone from office for not doing their job, other than the next election (unless they are convicted of a crime).

  • just another bloke

    isn't this the Kim Davis who preached morals to two people, but herself divorced how many times???

  • ohyes2011

    Good luck David!

  • Nick

    I hope he wins, we cannot have elected officials giving services they are paid to do by the taxes of us people to only those they like.

  • Outlaw

    I have a rule on my ranch. If you refuse to do your job you will have to find a new one. It seems strange to me that someone can refuse to do their job to the point of literally going to jail for it while still keeping the job.

  • Thomas

    I do not understand how this lady could be able to keep her job after being put in jail for failing to following procedures
    I do not understand how this lady could be able run for re-election after being put in jail for failing to following procedures

    Are there no qualifications for this job... like not having a criminal history of disobeying the law?

  • Bree Zee

    I wish him luck! Where do I donate to his campaign??

  • TexasVulcan

    I cannot believe this woman is still in her position. The voters need to oust her for not obeying the law. But I am betting there are just as many who support her for the same reason.

  • j penske

    This idiot lady should be glad she wasn't working in the private sector because she would have been fired for not doing her job. And the sad part is that she'll probably be re-elected.

  • Holly

    I hope he wins.

  • thee1truth

    And hopefully,this will end the horror of one of the most bigoted and discriminatory people in the nation and now will now she will be able to sit at home and understand that her brand of hate is no longer tolerated.

    Hope this is the end of the horror of Kim Davis.

    And for Huckabee supporting Kim Davis......Sarahs reputation is just as rotten,perhaps worse for being a serial liar as well as supporting bigotry and discrimination....cant wait for her 15 minutes to be over.

  • June Covfefe ☘️

    I don’t usually side with the gays on politics, but in this case I do, she failed to do her job as a public servant, if her religious morals were contrary to her job, she needed to resign.

  • Fred

    kim davis should be on the bread line. leave your feelings at home and do your job...

  • Frances Duran

    I wish him all the luck in the world.