David Ermold and David Moore say they never intended to make Kim Davis a household name.
In fact, if they could undo everything, they probably would. [Ermold wrote in to LGBTQ Nation, feeling that this sentence was misleading. Read his letter in full at the bottom of the story. — Ed.]
“We’re … complicit in her fame,” Moore recently told GQ in an interview. “We’re the ones who filmed her originally.”
Ermold and Moore had been together for 17 years when they went to apply for a marriage license from Davis after the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality in June.
They had heard rumors that she was refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples, but they hoped to change her mind.
“I thought if she could see us and talk to us, maybe she would go home and think about the people she’s affecting,” Moore recalled. “We decided we were going to go in and document it.”
When they uploaded the video online a few days later, it quickly went viral.
“I put it up around 11 at night,” Moore explained. “The next morning, Gawker had it, and then The Advocate was running it. By the time I got up, it already had 200,000 hits.”
And the rest is history.
Moore says the unexpected attention was “overwhelming” and “freaked me out.” But it wasn’t until Davis was arrested that he realized just how out-of-control things had become.
“This is not what we wanted,” Moore remembered saying. “When we saw the mug shot—it literally looks like somebody’s mother is being arrested.”
“Then Mike Huckabee comes down and creates a martyr of Davis,” Ermold added. “They took her picture with her hair down in a braid, and her husband was in bib overalls, the whole thing. They staged these photo opportunities for her.”
Ermold went on to express sadness for Davis.
“She’s being used,” he said. “When this is all said and done, if she still has that job, she’s gonna be sitting in her office, and she’s gonna be alienated. I don’t think she’ll get re-elected.”
Ultimately, both men say the experience made them finally confront the humiliation they had been suffering as gay men for their entire lives.
“We’ve been desensitized to the humiliation,” Moore said. “We had a mirror held up and realized, okay, this was happening all this time, but we just ignored it. We just let people treat us this way all this time.”
“That’s what’s the hardest thing about it all: the reminder that you’ve been letting it happen for so long,” Ermold added.
UPDATE: David Ernold wrote in to LGBTQ Nation, and asked that we print the following letter:
My name is David Ermold and my husband’s name is David Moore. We are the couple which you have written about in the article, “The gay couple who turned Kim Davis into a celebrity: ‘This is not what we wanted.” While you do use accurate quotations from a GQ article we interviewed for over a month ago, the interpretation you provide to your readers is wholly inaccurate.
Neither David nor I have ever stated to any media outlet that “if we could undo everything that happened, we probably would.” We do not agree with that sentiment. To clarify, we feel that jailing Davis was not the answer. Instead, the Attorney General of Kentucky should have prosecuted Davis at the state level and charged her with Official Misconduct, which is a misdemeanor in Kentucky. This would have effectively removed her from office. What you have posted sends the wrong message to LGBTQ youth and the entire LGBTQ community.
We posted the video of our struggle to obtain a marriage license to show the bigotry and hatred that gay people, like ourselves, must endure on a daily basis, and it should not be tolerated or accepted by anyone. It certainly shouldn’t be accepted from people in government positions. Stating that “David and I would undo everything if we could” undermines the message that LGBTQ people should be proud of who they are, and that they should stand for equal treatment in society. It undermines our fight for equality, and it suggests that we sympathize with Davis and those that feel similarly. This could not be any farther from the truth. We do NOT sympathize with Davis’ position that religious bigotry is acceptable in society. We feel quite the opposite, and we feel a retraction on your part is in order. If you wanted to interview us for your story, all you needed to do was to message one of us on Facebook, and we would have happily answered your questions and clarified any concerns you may have had about our GQ interview.
I humbly ask that you print this letter and a retraction on your website in regards to the article you have posted about us. Lastly, I want to say to the entire LGBTQ community: Be confident and proud of who you are. Enjoy life to the fullest, and never give up fighting for what is right.