MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — David Ermold returned to the Rowan County courthouse Wednesday, nearly two years after Clerk Kim Davis refused to give him a marriage license because he was gay.
Only this time, he did not want a license. He wants Davis’ job.
Ermold filed to run for county clerk on Wednesday, hoping to challenge the woman who two years ago told him “God’s authority” prohibited her from complying with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide. Ermold and others sued her, and Davis would spend five days in jail for disobeying a federal judge’s order. She emerged to a rapturous rally on the jailhouse lawn, arm-in-arm with a Republican presidential candidate as a newly crowned martyr for some conservatives.
In the two years since then, things have quieted down in this Appalachian town previously known for a college basketball team at Morehead State University that occasionally qualifies for the NCAA tournament. Last month, Davis announced she would run for re-election and face voters for the first time since refusing to issue marriage licenses. Three other people have also filed to run against her, including Elwood Caudill Jr., who lost to Davis by just 23 votes in the 2014 Democratic primary.
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But Caudill, like many people in Morehead, doesn’t want to talk about Davis and gay marriage. Ermold does.
“I think we need to deal with the circumstances and the consequences of what happened,” Ermold said. “I don’t think the other candidates are looking at a larger message. I have an obligation here, really, to do this and to set things right.”
Wednesday, Ermold and his husband sat across a desk from Davis as they filed his paperwork to run for office. Davis smiled and welcomed them, chatting with them about the state retirement system and the upcoming Christmas holiday. She made sure Ermold had all of his paperwork and signatures to file for office, softly humming the old hymn “Jesus Paid It All” as her fingers clacked across a keyboard.
When it was over, she stood and shook hands with Ermold, telling him: “May the best candidate win.”
“It’ll be a good one, I’m sure,” Davis told reporters about the election. Asked if she thought she deserved to be re-elected, Davis said: “That will be up to the people. I think I do a good job.”
Davis doesn’t object to issuing marriage licenses…