David Ermold filing his election paperwork on Wednesday as Kim Davis looks on.
Adam Beam / AP
A Kentucky man who was repeatedly refused a marriage license by county clerk Kim Davis after the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 announced Wednesday he is running to unseat her.
“It's official. I'm in!” wrote David Ermold on his campaign Facebook page in declaring his intention to challenge Davis for her position of Rowan County Clerk in the May 2018 election.
Ermold and his partner, David Moore, were filmed being turned away by Davis before a crowd of reporters. The video quickly went viral on social media.
“I'm not being disrespectful to you,” she told the pair.
“You absolutely have disrespected us,” Ermold replied.
“Would you do this to an interracial couple?” Moore asked.
“A man and a woman?” Davis asked. “No.”
The couple made a total of four unsuccessful attempts to obtain a license.
Ermold, an associate professor of English at the University of Pikeville, told CNN in 2015 that being turned away by Davis was emblematic of the larger LGBT struggle.
“This is how gay people are treated in this country, this is what it's like, this is their experience, this is how it feels,” Ermold said.
Davis was later jailed for several days for her refusal to follow the law, but was eventually released. A Kentucky law was then changed so her name would not have to appear on the marriage licenses.
Moore and Ermold later sued Davis for damages (their case is still pending). The pair were eventually issued a license by one of Davis's deputies and were married.
Davis after being released from jail.
Ty Wright / Getty Images
Ermold told NBC News he was not motivated by revenge and had always been interested in politics.
“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.”
However, he told HuffPo that he believed Rowan County residents were “ready to move on from” Davis.
He was also optimistic about his chances and said he believed he could win.
On his campaign website, Ermold vowed to bring leadership, fairness, and responsibility to the role of county clerk.
“As county clerk, I will make sure that all citizens seeking out services will be treated with dignity and respect, and I will make every effort to deliver an efficient, professional experience to everyone,” he wrote.
Davis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.