Standing Alone

Alabama Rep. Artur Davis Didn’t Vote for Hate Crimes Bill. Don’t Look Surprised


By a vote of 249-175, Congress passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which gives federal hate crimes protection to queers and provides federal funding for local and state law enforcement agencies to investigate hate crimes. Generally voting along party lines, the Democratic majority pushed the bill through, which now heads to President Obama’s desk.

But then there’s the case of Alabama Rep. Artur Davis, the only eligible member of the Congressional Black Caucus who did not vote for the bill. Surprised? Don’t be. Back in 2007, Davis famously became the only CBC member not to vote for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act with a faulty excuse about how it would impact small businesses and religious organizations (namely, that it wouldn’t). (Two other representatives voted no because that version of ENDA did not include transgender protections.) Davis’ record of supporting gay rights is effectively zero. In fact, he’s not just neutral on the issue — he’s against equality.

When it comes to how Alabama’s representatives voted, Davis is in the majority: All of Alabama’s reps voted “no” on the Matthew Shepard Act, even “Democrats” Bobby Bright and Parker Griffith.

But when it comes to how Congress’ black reps voted, he’s in the stark minority. (As Rod 2.0 notes about other CBC members who did not vote yes: “Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, of course, did not vote on the House bill. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Donna Christian-Christensen are non-voting delegates. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Al Green of Texas missed the roll call but previously voted for Hate Crimes and ENDA and have solid pro-gay records.”)

If that’s not bad enough? Davis has his sights set on becoming Alabama’s first black governor. Which would be a huge achievement for people of color; a black man becoming a former slave state’s leader. But when it comes to the gay community, it’s most definitely a step back. In a time when our 50 states are seeing such momentum behind marriage equality, Davis wouldn’t just be a roadblock, he’d be a tidal wave in the opposite direction. This, from a man who represents a state that just a few decades ago would’ve preferred him in chains.

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  • Bruno

    Bigots come in all shapes and sizes. I think it’s actually quite wrong to single this one out just because he’s black. Each of the 175 people in the House…each and every one…that voted against the Matt Shepard Act is a bigot.

  • Raphael

    My rep (Laura Richardson) is in the CBC and voted yes on the bill. I called to thank her.

    I think it’s perfectly fine to single out members of the CBC for voting against hate crimes legislation. A vote against this act was a vote for lynching.

    Not that we should let others off the hook.

  • Chitown Kev

    Yeah, it’s a ‘Bama thang, allright.

  • Alec

    @Bruno: Well, not all of them. There are some libertarian opponents of this legislation who oppose all hate crimes statutes. But I don’t see Davis sponsoring legislation to repeal the federal hate crimes statute, so hard to take him seriously.

    He switched his vote after constituents approached him on it, by the way. He supported this legislation in 2007.

  • Dabq

    @Bruno: Yep, he’s a black guy, so lets single him out for the daily black guy bashing when there were 175 others who were not black and voted for hate and only Ginny Foxx was called out for her hate and only because it got world wide attention. I can see why a black person would never stand with some of the gays who post here on any issue as they have major issues with black people, gay or otherwise.

    Bigots and homophobes come in all colors, and, sexuality judging from many posts here….

  • Chitown Kev

    Did you even read his post? You are the one race baiting here.

  • Dabq

    @Chitown Kev: With due respect I could never ‘race bait’ on this site, there are way too many who do it better and with gusto. I just find it odd how black men are always in the negative light here, when there are more than a few whites and others who are homophobic and more than a few gays men who are racists, just keeping it real like it is in the real world.

  • Alec

    @Dabq: What concerns me is that he changed his vote from yes to no. Oh, and his plans to run for a statewide office. Disconcerting in the extreme.

  • Chitown Kev


    Bruno very specifically stated 1)that it was wrong to single him out solely on the basis of race 2) that sll 175 Reps that voted for this bill was a bigot and I will add

    3) he went against the stated position of the CBC. the only one. The article also points that out. he is an anamoly and anamolies have a tendency to stand out.

    and 4) as Alec noted he changed his vote, probably for political expediency.

    Sir you are race baiting. I call out the racists on this site (when I am around) and you are no better, in this particular instance.

  • Tony

    Sadly, the people who get hurt the most by homophobia in the African American Community are the LGBT people IN the African American Community. Remember the 11 year old who killed himself recently. We need to focus on the LGBT people within the AFAM Community who really need our support. Queer has no color.

  • Chitown Kev


    Sadly, we will never know if Carl (can’t remember his last name) or Jaheem Herrera was ever “one of us.”

    Now go on one of the African American non-gay blogs and try and find that story. Sure enough you can find it. But you really have to look for it

  • EE Keller

    @Bruno: But it appears so much worse when a minority person fails to stand up for another minority. It’s like being a racist queer.

  • Tony

    Chitown Kev I understand your point. I am the last to deny that homophobia in the AFAM Community is extreme. Yes, a large portion of that community voted our rights away in California, but those of us in their community are the most vulnerable to the hatred within that community. LGBT people of color are the ones who get lost in “the mix” to borrow Obamabigot’s language.

  • Chitown Kev


    Yes, and all of the black organizations that were granted money from the stimulus pkg. for HIV/AIDS services were “straight.” Not one dime seems to be going to any black LGBT organization.

  • herewegoagain

    It’s widely known that you can’t lure African-American voters with LGBT issues. How do you expect a black man to win a gubernatorial election in a state that hates black people by pissing off the majority of those he is trying to represent?

    Of course, I agree that he isn’t standing on (or even showing) his principles right not; however, he did not vote against the bill. He merely didn’t do his part to pass it.

    I’ll definitely have to think about this when I head to the polls–I would REALLY love to see a black man lead this state, but I would also hate for that black man to discriminate against LGBT citizens in order to promote the gender issues (which are a huge problem, but by no means more important).

    We shall see. This is definitely not the state to live in if you want an even shake at equal rights, I keep telling myself that I’m on the next train out…

  • herewegoagain

    excuse me…not gender issues, but rather race issues

  • Chitown Kev


    It not just AA votes, it’s ALABAMA votes. Yes, he would need a huge AA turnout to win. But they don’t particularly care for any of the queers down there, of whatever race.

    And…yeah, it would be great to see him become the governor of FUCKING ALABAMA!

    But not at our expense.

  • alan brickman

    big surprise…no really…


    ” I could never ‘race bait’ on this site, there are way too many who do it better and with gusto.” Examples, please, preferably from among those who still post here?

  • Mister C

    @ Chi-Town Kev,

    Girl, Sometimes I wonder. I read this article and you say it’s not race baiting??????


    It starts off saying By a vote of 249-175….okay now HOW MANY WHITES are out of that 175 a whole lot more than Blacks I bet… Please Mention those motherfuckers and maybe it won’t be considered race baiting.

    Personally this shit gets more disgusting. The more they do posts on African Americans and Gays the more you see negative commenting. Yeah they may post other things. But they do not gravitate as much as when it’s African Americans and Gays, or Jamaicans.

    The only thing bumped them was Miss California.

    Tony said in response to you He said:
    Chitown Kev I understand your point. I am the last to deny that homophobia in the AFAM Community is extreme.

    Now Tony is it that extreme that you’re telling me that all whites love the gays…..You must be fucking crazy on a stick…EXTREME????…..Bush and his whole regime made sure the LGBT community got nothing and what were they mostly….WHITE!!!!

    Then Tony says:

    Yes, a large portion of that community voted our rights away in California, but those of us in their community are the most vulnerable to the hatred within that community. LGBT people of color are the ones who get lost in “the mix” to borrow Obamabigot’s language.

    How the fuck do you figure that I got lost in Obama’s bigoted language whatever that may be? Maybe I’m lost in the discrminitive nature our LGBT organizations reaching out to Minority LGBT’s they simply don’t as well as the racism in this community.

    The pendalum can swing both ways and I’m not having it!

  • Chitown Kev

    @Mister C:
    The article itself does not race bait nor did the comment I was referring to in post #3

    Now the shit that you point out, sure it does.

    And considering the online, family, and personal interactions that I’ve had this week I am sooooooooo glad that I live in a mostly white, very liberal, mostly straight community. Because all of the white racist ghettoized queens and homobigoted ghettoized African Americans (funny how the same “nomenclature exists!) want to go at each others throats.

    To me, it just seems SO STUPID and so idiotic because both sides are hated by the exact same people. I find the irony of that astounding. And both sides are so caught up in whatever this…drama is all about that they evidently can’t see what’s in front of their own face and act accordingly.

    So where I’m really going with this is I am really strating not to give a flying fuck about either group and I am becoming incresingly numb too it. Racist queens and black homobigots have to be some of the stupidest motherfuckers I have evr interacted with in my life.

  • Mister C

    All I can say is I hear ya Boo!

    What personal interactions you had this week?

  • Jackson

    As a gay Alabamian, I feel compelled to make a few comments on this.

    1. Davis, while a fairly brilliant public speaker (and personal friend of Obama), doesn’t necessarily have the in on the Democratic nomination in Alabama. It’s not b/c of color, it’s b/c there are other candidates that people like better. I’m personally a Ron Sparks fan at the moment. Davis, who was a virtual unknown a year ago, still doesn’t have much momentum outside of his district in spite of his near-constant grandstanding over the last 6 months.

    2. Alabama isn’t as unfriendly to gays as it’s being made out to be (We have openly gay politicians in the state house & some cities have made a lot of progress on their own in protecting GLBT people. This is more than many states in other regions). Though the process is FAR from complete here, the work goes on. People in any region don’t change the worldview they grew up with overnight. I think the insinuation that it’s specifically a problem “down here” is itself a racist proposition. Especially in view of the fact that only a trickle of states have passed anti-discrimination bills & even fewer have anything approaching full equality.

    3. for those saying his opinions are so he can get African-American votes… We have an out (white) lesbian recently elected to the state house to serve a district that is majority black. Davis is just trying to outGOP the GOP b/c they’re branding him as a radical. His recent stances are why I (and many other Democrats in this state, gay & straight) don’t support him.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    As a native Alabamian and a Democrat, I applaud you for bringing Rep. Davis’ active opposition to Gay people to people’s attention. I encourage all fair-minded Alabamians to vote for someone else in the Dem Primary. And if Davis is the nominee, undervote for Governor. He’s as bad as any Republican.

  • Tom in Lazybrook


    I wonder if Artur Davis did anything to stop the attempted theft of State Rep. Patricia Todd’s Democratic election victory? My guess, nothing.

    The sad thing is, I think Artur Davis knows better.

    There are many Alabamians of color who support equality for all. The Alabama House just passed Hate Crimes Legislation. In Alabama, unlike in other states, the Defense of “Marriage” amendment tended to do more poorly in heavily African American areas than in white ones.

    There are good things happening in Alabama. But Artur Davis isn’t one of them. I am glad that since he is running for Governor, he will have to leave his Congressional seat. Lets work to get someone who isn’t trying to be the Alabama’s version of Zell Miller to replace him.

  • Marcus

    I’d STILL like to see him behind chains.

Comments are closed.