There was a very ironic moment today inside the Rowan County courthouse in Kentucky, as the gay man that Rowan County clerk Kim Davis denied a marriage license to back in 2015 returned. This time, David Emrold was filing the paperwork to be her opponent in the upcoming election.
Back in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were legal. This is when Emrold and his partner, among other couples, went to get marriage licenses from the county clerk. However, Davis denied these couples a marriage license, as her religious beliefs were against gay marriage.
According to NPR, Ermold is an assistant professor of English at the University of Pikeville and has lived in Rowan County for more than 10 years. Davis denied him and his now-husband twice from getting a marriage license during the summer of 2015, so Ermold told the Associated Press that he felt obligated to run.
“I have an obligation here, really, to do this and to set things right. I don’t think the other candidates are looking at a larger message.”
Even though the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage to be legal, Davis said it was “God’s authority” that kept her from complying with this decision. For this, Kim spent time in jail for defying a federal judge’s order and was sued by Ermold and other couples. However, she rose to fame because of these acts and became a symbol of the bitter divide over same-sex marriage. Davis even got a chance to meet the Pope in 2015.
David announced last month that she was running for reelection, according to NPR. This is the first election for Davis since the controversy took place. The AP was present today, as Emrold came face-to-face with Davis while filing the paperwork.
“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.'”
Emrold, who is running as a Democrat, told the AP that his campaign is more than LGBT issues, but he will focus on fairness and bringing people together. He said it shouldn’t “matter whether I’m LGBT or not” and if he is “qualified to do a job,” then he “should be able to do the job.”
Since the summer of 2015, Davis no longer objects to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, that is because Kentucky changed the rules and clerks no longer have to attach their names to the licenses. NPR reported that Davis has maintained her opposition to gay marriage.
Her fate is now up to the voters of Rowan County, but Davis, who is running as a Republican, was asked if she deserves to be reelected and she told reporters, “That will be up to the people. I think I do a good job.”