California Assemblyman Mike Davis’ Outrageous Outing By a Straight Supporter

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.

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  • Bayley

    Really? the man is gay, and in a position to have profound influence on millions and their livelihood; in the most delicate, senstive and fragile time for a our movement, and yet he’s absent regarding every gay measure across the board. You’re infering we overlook that as carelessly as you’re willing to? What is the point of support toward a gay person in office if they are indifferent to gay issues…? BIG issues (i.e gay marriage)

    Indifference for me is far more alarming than a YES/NO stance. At least with a Huckabee, we know exactly where we stand. To be in the dark with an assemblymen who knows how much value this issue has for us is painfully worse, and completly unforgivable. To be a gay assemblymen and want to tip toe your way around issues that face the gay community on a daily basis personifies every issue I have with politicians.

    Are we that desperate in our plight that we’re willing to support people who pretend we’re not even in the room? do we have such a shortage in allies in the political spectrum?

    Yet another discouraging thread from a lineage of ‘neither here, nor there’ Queerty threads where I often question if I’m visiting a pro gay oriented site or an indifferent one.

  • CHIP1218

    Abstaining is a voting tactic. Being absent for the same type of votes is a pattern. He has been avoiding this issue when he can, its that simple.

    If he’s unopposed, I suggest doing the same thing – don’t vote for him. Let him realize when he’s reelected with LESS votes than is estimated that his abstaining or absenteeism will not be respected by his constituents.

  • Cam

    So the press officer says that being gay would never come up in their workplace because it’s a “Professional” workplace? Why to have a homophobic office. And this dick abstained from the marriage bill?! Hell kick him out and put in another person, straight or gay who will vote for whats right.

  • Ryan Tedder

    @Bayley: @CHIP1218: I agree. By not voting for gay rights legislation, he isn’t doing any of us favors. But he is not voting AGAINST it. So when it comes to outing him as a political tool, does he really meet the same standard as a Roy Ashburn?

    Theoretically speaking, if the vote is 50-49, and Davis abstains, the legislation passes. If he votes against it, it’s 50-50, and it doesn’t. Clearly then, abstaining is better than voting against it. But should he be outed for not explicitly saying one he’s for or against it?

    It’s not about supporting a closeted candidate who won’t support gay rights. It’s about whether he should be OUTED. Please let me know where you stand on that one.

  • Tuck

    @Ryan Tedder: Of course he should be outed. A different argument might apply if we were talking about someone in a different occupation but a closet candidate loses the moral authority to privacy claims by not supporting gay rights. His vote alone may not change anything drastically but it is the cumulative weight of all the closet cases that is the problem. As soon as we excuse one hypocrite, we are giving license to others to act in a similar manner.

  • Frank Cermak-Ochoa

    Good for her! It will be on Davis now to be honest with his constituents and with the Stonewall Dems. Every day another high schooler is bullied in his district. Everyday that another couple is denied the right to marry. So many said it was impossible for Barack Obama to be our President, trust in the good works you have done in your community and for with the Democratic party and stand up for a better future. We need to remind Mr. Davis that character is seen in choice, the choice to abstain is an admission of ignorance and that we will be there with him if he chooses to be honest with himself and his party.

  • jason

    I think Davis would be a great role model for black gays who are currently being stigmatized.

  • Timothy


    “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.”

    Are you sure about that? My understanding is that it take a majority of the legislators, not just a majority of those voting.

  • reason

    Davis is surrounded in a cloud of ambiguity, it seems nobody knows why he was absent during those votes or were he stands. One thing is for sure if I was representing an organization, I would want an unequivocal statement about were the person stands before endorsing him: sexuality is a moot point. I would hold off on casting him as an enemy until he performs an action worthy of being granted enemy status, as it stands there is still an opportunity to get this guy on board as a real ally. Stonewall should hold its endorsement and actually stay relevant rather then trying to give the appearance of being relevant.

  • the crustybastard

    You are drowning. There is a man on shore. He is standing next to a brick and a length of rope. He throws you neither.

    He is not your friend.

    And that isn’t based on the fact he didn’t throw the brick at you.

  • jeffree

    His silence is telling. If he’s gay or not gay or if he’s bi or straight, then just say so. Based on what I’m reading elsewhere it’s another case of an “open secret” which as a “public figure” he hasn’t addrressed. Yet.

    So when str8 assemblypersons were voting *for* “our rights”, he was absent/abstained?? It’s not like he represents a state dominated by the religious right!

    What message does that send to young lesbian/ gay/ bi people — especially young people of color??

    I’m not a Californian, and dont know what his political ambitions are, but this much is clear: he has some *serious explaining* to do. I question his ethics and hope he soon will come clean and provide some rationale behind his curious voting record.

  • Bayley

    @Ryan Tedder: I don’t care about his sexuality, I care about his convictions. He presents himself as having neither. Being asexual is one thing. Being aloof on gay marriage is, again, inexcusable. To confront your question, when you voluntarily sign up for this position, you voluntarily sign away your discretion. To serve the people, you have to be part of the people…not role playing a character. This man wants to walk in for a pay check and walk out without contributing anything (one way or the other) toward matters that have a tangible meaning to millions…and for that we turn our back on him, just as he did on us. I think my point was clarified enough. Still trying to make sense of Queertys, which is as wishy washy as this potential politicians.

  • David in Houston

    You cannot be a closeted politician that doesn’t vote for gay issues, AND expect support from gay citizens. It’s not going to happen.

    If your constituents aren’t going to vote for you because you are gay, then move to another town that will, or find a different job. We don’t need CLOSETED politicians that are afraid to do the right thing when their vote can have a major effect on other citizen’s lives.

  • Here To Learn

    I’m a straight black guy who’s genuinely interested to see how most commentators here feel that Davis should not only be out, but voting positively on gay issues as often as possible.

    I had assumed that just as with other civil rights struggles, the place of both radicals and non-radicals has been recognised, so in the case of gay rights, most people might accept that some potential activists will take the non-confrontational road. It’s enlightening for me to see that people are more impatient and radical than that.

    @THECRUSTYBASTARD – your metaphor is indeed thought-provoking. However, it immediately makes me wonder about the murderous hordes surrounding the man on the shore, who hold guns and knives, as well as bricks and ropes, in their own hands.

    I’d like to pay tribute here to the bravery of all of the women & men, some who happen to be LGBTQ and some who don’t, who in small and large ways are struggling to make this world a better place. I sometimes think that white people as well as black will be liberated by the ‘end’ of racism, and by the same token, that all humankind needs to be freed from the evil weight of homophobia and other oppressions of self-loathing.

  • abstaining

    For the record, abstaining from a vote or not voting on a bill in the State Assembly is the same as a no vote mathematically. You need to get to 41 votes in order for something to pass by a majority vote. The only mitigating factor is if the Member has an official excused absence.

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