It was at a gay event (the Stonewall Democratic Club) that a straight lady (Jimmie Woods Gray) outed California Assemblyman Mike Davis as gay — as a reason to endorse him for re-election.
Davis’ sexuality isn’t some big secret. Sacramento insiders have known he’s gay for some time. But it took Gray’s public pronouncement to put it on the record.
Facing no opponents looking for Stonewall’s endorsement, Davis should’ve been approved easily. Except, as Karen Ocamb reports:
[T]he unexpected happened when someone pulled incumbent Assemblymember Mike Davis’ name, which, by club rules, meant three people could speak for and three people could speak against his endorsement. One straight Davis supporter argued for the Assemblymember’s endorsement because, she said emphatically, “He’s gay! [He’s a member of the community. We should support him.”]
Stonewall President John Cleary explained that “generally good” Democratic incumbents running unopposed for reelection – like Davis (AD48) – don’t require a candidate interview since their first questionnaire is on file. With Davis, however, there were “lingering concerns” over his voting record, Cleary said.
According to Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors, Davis was present in 2007 when the marriage equality bill came up for a vote – but he abstained, which Kors said EQCA counts as a “No” vote since his vote was needed. He voted in favor of the Harvey Milk Day bill in 2008 but was absent for the votes on both the out-of-state marriage bill and the Harvey Milk Day bill in 2009. Kors said EQCA does not endorse any candidate who does not support marriage equality and to his knowledge, Davis has never said he supports marriage rights for same sex couples. He also said Davis did not return EQCA’s first candidate questionnaire and still has not yet returned the questionnaire sent to him this year.
Apparently, Davis’ office had no idea what happened until Ocamb spoke to Davis’ spokesman Steven K. Miller Jr., who says: “I don’t know. No, not that I know of. No, not at all. This is a very professional office and that is not something that would have come up. So I have never had any reason to think anything like that. I have no reaction – but it is surprising. But that’s a personal and private issue and to broadcast that in a public arena – I’m a little disappointed in Jimmie Woods Gray. It’s like John Perez [the openly gay Speaker of the Assembly]. That’s his personal opinion [ie to be openly gay]. This is something personal – for him for him to come out or not to – and it isn’t anyone else’s business.”
Clearly, Jimmie Woods Gray is in some shit. She didn’t mean Davis any harm, of course; a member of the Stonewall Democrats, she supports him for re-election. But it isn’t by accident that Davis has remained in the closet, whether for political or personal reasons, and this story is certain to go wider as he nears re-election.
I’m not not quite willing to go as far as Equality California’s Geoff Kors to say that if Davis isn’t voting for every gay-related bill, he’s an enemy. Abstaining is not the same thing is voting no — at least not mathematically, which is what counts when it comes to votes. If Davis chooses not to vote, he’s not casting a vote against the gays; he’s just not casting a vote for us, either.