1983: McCain Voted Against Creating Martin Luther King Holiday. McCain voted against the Hall (D-IN) motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill to designate the third Monday of every January as a federal holiday in honor of the late civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [Vote 289, HR 3706, Motion agreed to 89-77, D 249-13, 8/2/83; CQ 1983] Raw Story, January 5, 2007.Rodonline says, citing Raw Story:
There is no better way to celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday than by attending the swearing-in of a Republican governor who belongs to an organization that excludes blacks. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) did just this in Birmingham, Alabama at the inauguration of Gov. Bob Riley:
"The 'Grand Master' of the Grand Lodge of Alabama admits he knows of no African American members among the groups 30,000 plus membership ... But Riley denied that the Masonic group is racist, as did two leaders of the organization in interviews Friday," the AP reported.
Riley's swearing-in comes on the 22nd anniversary of the first Martin Luther King Day, which McCain initially opposed. The so-called "maverick" Republican explains his flip-flop with the usual non-explanation: "In 1983, when I was brand-new in the Congress, I voted against the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King. That was a mistake, OK? And later I had the chance to...help fight for...the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King as a holiday in my state." Rodonline,15 January 2007.