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'Die-In' Protesters Confront Alabama Mayor Who Called for Killing Gays

Mayor Mark Chambers

Mayor Mark Chambers of Carbon Hill refuses to resign, despite calls from activists and City Council members.

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Protesters staged a "die-in" Monday outside City Hall in Carbon Hill, Ala., aimed at Mayor Mark Chambers, who last month posted a Facebook comment calling for the killing of LGBTQ people, socialists, and others.

After lying down on the City Hall grounds, the demonstrators confronted Chambers. "Some asked just how he would like to kill them," Alabama's Montgomery Advertiser reports. "One carried a sign saying 'if you kill me, my ghost will haunt you.'"

They had also met privately with Chambers beforehand, telling him the city should enact an antidiscrimination law and urging him to resign. He said he would consider an antidiscrimination ordinance, but he refused to resign and said he may even run for reelection. He has been mayor of the northern Alabama town of fewer than 2,000 people since 2014.

At Monday's City Council meeting, two members submitted letters of resignation, without explanation. The two, McClain Burrough and Chandler Gann, had previously objected to Chambers's hateful comments, local residents told the Advertiser.

Chambers's Facebook post came in early June. He shared a graphic that read, "We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics."

A Facebook friend of his commented, "By giving the minority more rights than the majority. I hate to think of the country my grandkids will live in unless somehow we change and I think that will take a revolution." Chambers responded to that comment by saying, "The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it's bad to say but without killing them out there's no way to fix it."

When a reporter for an Alabama TV station questioned Chambers about the comment, he at first denied making it, then said he thought he was sending a private message to a friend and claimed he wasn't calling for anyone's death. After the reporter read the comment back to him, he said people on both sides would be killed in a revolution.

He then posted an apology on Facebook, saying he knew "it was wrong for me to say anyone should be kill" and that he was sorry to have embarrassed his town. Since then, activists have called for his resignation and organized petitions to that effect, and most of the council members have urged him to resign as well.

Rawsy McCollum, a Carbon Hill resident who was among those who met with Chambers Monday, told the Advertiser that the mayor said his comment shouldn't have been public. But she pointed out that Chambers shouldn't have made such a hateful remark at all and said he should leave office.

"If you can impeach the president of the United States, you should be able to move the mayor in this little one-red-light town," she told the paper.

Chambers, previously a City Council member, was appointed by the council as mayor in 2014 after his predecessor, James "Pee Wee" Richardson, stepped down amid allegations that he had sexually abused female inmates at the city jail. In a plea deal, Richardson pleaded guilty to five counts of harassment and one count of second-degree sexual abuse, and agreed to resign as mayor.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.