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The Gipper, Milk & Defeating Prop 6

A reader alerts us to a piece in the American Spectator where Aaron Goldstein reminds us how significant Ronald Reagan’s opposition to Prop 6, the 1978 Golden State ballot initiative which would have banned gays from teaching in public schools, was to it the defeat of that pernicious proposal:

There is little doubt Milk’s yeoman efforts against Proposition 6 were significant. Yet if it were not for the intervention of Ronald Reagan the initiative would have almost certainly passed. Milk, to its credit, notes Reagan’s opposition to Proposition 6. However, its acknowledgement doesn’t properly do justice to how significant Reagan’s contribution was to this divisive debate.

(Emphasis added.) Goldstein notes that even David Mixner, a Friend of Bill (Clinton), commended the Gipper for his efforts:

There is no doubt in my mind that the man who put us over the top was California Governor Ronald Reagan. His opposition to Proposition 6 killed it for sure.

Senator Briggs, the author of the initiative, agreed.  When “asked by reporters who was to blame for its ignominious defeat, . . . he simply replied: ‘Ronald Reagan.’” Make sure to read Goldstein’s piece as he provides more detail on Reagan’s opposition to Prop 6, giving a window into the mind of this great man.

Let’s hope more gay people become aware of his involvement.  And heck, it just give them some ideas on defeating future such ballot initiatives and encourage them to enlist Republicans in their campaigns against them. (I mean, you know, like, why didn’t the leaders of “No on 8″ enlist Ward Connerly in their campaign?)

Given the role for which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences had just honored him this past Sunday, Sean Penn, since he was determined to politicize his speech, should have at least given a shout-out to one noble politician whose voice clearly helped nix a pernicious anti-gay ballot initiative: Ronald Wilson Reagan.

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33 Comments

  1. But in the eyes of most gay leftists, the “R” by his name is the equivalent of the scarlet letter. Do you think those sleazoid Hollywood producers who took time out from their miscast, PC made-for-TV musicals and basic cable-caliber celebrity biopics to libel a dying man would admit that Reagan did right by gays in his opposition to Proposition 6? Even my Democrat mother gives him credit for winning the Cold War.

    To these individuals, bigotry is not defined by beliefs or actions but by associations.

    Comment by Attmay — February 26, 2009 @ 9:38 pm - February 26, 2009

  2. Why don’t we have a Republican step up to the plate and advocate civil unions or heaven forbid gay marriage? This example is just showing the glaring cowardice of the modern Republican party. You can be gay, just don’t make waves and ask for equality. Which many on this blog advocate. You think by not identifying as gay you are somehow superior when in fact you are cowards! Reaping all the benefits that the loud minority of gays is so loudly demanding while you hide in the corner ashamed of your sexuality.

    Comment by DaveA — February 27, 2009 @ 2:09 am - February 27, 2009

  3. Um, DaveA, did you even read the post to which you attach your comment?

    Can’t you even praise Ronald Reagan for his courage his opposing Prop 6? I mean, gay liberals are reaping the benefits of that Republican’s bold stand thirty years ago-when standing against anti-gay activists could hurt him with the then-emerging social conservative base in his party?

    Here, we have a post where I provide an example of Republican leadership and all you do is attack.

    And by the way, I don’t want equality, so I won’t ask for it. It’s freedom I seek. So, why are you faulting us for failing to adopt a social/political goal at odds with our deepest political principles?

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — February 27, 2009 @ 2:42 am - February 27, 2009

  4. DaveA, given that you and your fellow gay leftists fully support and endorse bans on gay marriage and this sort of speech, you are doing nothing more than showing your complete and total hypocrisy on such matters.

    You and yours have made of being gay an addiction to socialism, promiscuous sex, sexualization of children, antireligious bigotry, hatred for the average voter, and a deep and abiding belief that government should take everything away from people who work and give it to people like you who won’t. There is nothing more antithetical to Republican beliefs than what you and your leftist friends have made of the gay community, and you should expect to be treated accordingly.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 27, 2009 @ 2:59 am - February 27, 2009

  5. Ronald Reagan was courageous. Now what about you and the rest of your party? I do not see courage just cowardice. I do not care if Republicans are okay with you being Gay and even employ you, so what? That means nothing because they do not want you to have the security of civil unions. As for you not wanting equality just freedom, how sad that you think yourself not worthing of equality. Freedom means nothing without equality!

    Comment by DaveA — February 27, 2009 @ 3:04 am - February 27, 2009

  6. Wow, DaveA, why do so many of our critics make assumptions about us? Where did I say I wasn’t worthy of equality?

    I just think when you make equality your goal, you’re going to keep needing to pass laws until every interest group is perfectly satisfied.

    Please explain what you mean by freedom meaning nothing without equality? Does that mean that since, by your definition, I don’t have freedom, every time I express myself either emotionally or verbally, it’s insignificant?

    Like the American founders, like Abraham Lincoln, like all leading conservative theorists, like Ronald Reagan, like so many others, I believe freedom should be the goal of our republic. And most of them were quite skeptical of the notion of equality. To be sure, they believed we were created equal and favored equality of opportunity but did sought to avoid making equality the goal of republican government or civil society.

    So, please learn to see the difference. And please understand that equality as a political goal is a notion of the left today. And at odds with American conservatism — and indeed, the better part of the American political tradition.

    Equality as a goal leads to social systems which threaten individual accomplishment, punish productive endeavor, limit individual freedom and hamper economic growth.

    I’d rather the state leave us alone so we can prosper on our own.

    But, I still wonder why, in your first comment to this particular post, you first impulse was to attack and I had to remind you to acknowledge the man considered above, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

    It still fascinates me why so many of our critics seem oblivious to the subject matter of the post to which they attach their comments seems irrelevant and why they remain so ready to attack us.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — February 27, 2009 @ 3:27 am - February 27, 2009

  7. You can be gay, just don’t make waves and ask for equality. Which many on this blog advocate. You think by not identifying as gay you are somehow superior when in fact you are cowards! Reaping all the benefits that the loud minority of gays is so loudly demanding while you hide in the corner ashamed of your sexuality.

    Did it ever occur to you that perhaps some folks see gays in a positive light BECAUSE of “cowards” like us? I had a co-worker tell me that he thought I was cool because I wasn’t like those “freaks” at the pride parades and Southern Decadence. You catch more flies with honey.

    I spent several years coming to grips with being gay and they were the most miserable of my life BECAUSE I didn’t want to be part of the “loud minority”. I didn’t want to be associated with the TRASH that demands respect for their acts of public sex. I didn’t want to be a miserable victim like you.

    A friend of mine came out to me first and he had the same fears. That led me to wonder how many of those kids who commit suicide do so because they think they HAVE to be “loud & proud”? I told him he had to define himself the way he saw fit and not let a bunch of faggots who pretend to give a shit about “equality” and “diversity”.

    You’ve proven to me, Dave, that you could give a flying damn about “equality”. You’re showing your own selfish desires. Don’t give me that rainbow “individuality” shit because, clearly, you only believe in it as long as we’re doing the same thing.

    “Individuality’s fine as long as we do it together.” – Maj. Frank Burns (M*A*S*H)

    As far as Republicans go, Bush stated that he believed in the states determining civil unions on their own. The VERY SAME position as many of the liberals whose cocks you like to suck on. And yet, he was pilloried as a homophobic bigot. Why should a Republican slap their dick on the table when garbage like you will be first in line to chop it off?

    Long story short, queers like you are a fucking embarrassment who will continue to keep us where we are. And no, I don’t want “equality” because I know I’m a better man than you and damn anybody who says different.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 27, 2009 @ 4:24 am - February 27, 2009

  8. No doubt some tea-bagging queen will come along spinning the lie that Reagan didn’t mention AIDS soon enough.

    To that, I ask WTF difference does it make???? Here we are 20 years, four presidents and ass loads of cash spent on AIDS and we have unprotected sex festivals in the streets and barebacking as a major genre of porn films.

    Who cares if he never mentioned it at all? We still have gays who carry on knowing full well that they’re dancing with death.

    Wanna talk hypocrisy? Gays are pretty much the definition of it.

    “Oh, we can’t teach abstinence only! We gotta teach Kindergarten kids how to put a condom on a banana in two seconds flat!” Meanwhile, we tell them it’s cool to have sex without a condom.

    Sorry. I have a hard time buying the sob stories about watching X number of friends die while encouraging irresponsible activity at the same time. You may have a pitiful sob story to tell, but my sympathy only goes so far.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 27, 2009 @ 5:03 am - February 27, 2009

  9. In other words, DAVE, tell me why I should give a damn about the “gay community”. As Boob loves to say “what have they done for me lately?”

    Screw you sideways (with a condom).

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 27, 2009 @ 5:06 am - February 27, 2009

  10. As for you not wanting equality just freedom, how sad that you think yourself not worthing of equality. Freedom means nothing without equality!

    The very same supreme court of the United States that defended equality by ruling anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, rejected on the merits arguments that refusal to recognize gay marriage had anything to do with equality.

    Homosexuality is NOT equal to heterosexuality. The latter produces ALL children, the former is categorically incapable of producing any.

    Stop living a lie. Come to terms with who and what you are instead of lying to yourself and others. Stop pretending you are something you are not.

    Its very liberating to acknowledge biological facts. Why do you liberals hate science so?

    Comment by American Elephant — February 27, 2009 @ 5:52 am - February 27, 2009

  11. Dan,

    I think you’re missing the forrest for the trees.

    You, like I, like the full assortment of Daves who post, have access to all the rights we’re granted by the Divine, and all the privleges granted by the state. The fact that we do not qualify for them all (materinity leave for myself for example) does not change the access. Nor does it change that we can lobby the state for additional privleges. The reason to revolt is when those privleges come at the expence of others. (See Mortgage bailout, government interfering in contracts etc.)

    Equality of oportunity does not ensure equality of result.

    Comment by The Livewire — February 27, 2009 @ 7:03 am - February 27, 2009

  12. The only reason why regan apposed prop 6 was because it was presented to him by Mixner as a piece of legislation with too much potential for litigation to be a fiscally conservative measure. I’d be very doubtful of any genuine compassion on his part towards the plights and priorities of the gay community. His response to the AIDS crisis is testimony to that.

    Comment by Scott — February 27, 2009 @ 8:01 am - February 27, 2009

  13. Reaping all the benefits that the loud minority of gays is so loudly demanding while you hide in the corner ashamed of your sexuality.

    DaveA, you just proved you don’t have a clue about anything or anyone here. Many people here have worked for (reasonable and rational) gay rights. “You’re welcome.”

    Why don’t we have a Republican step up to the plate and advocate civil unions or gay marriage

    We have. Again, Dave, you just proved you are completely clueless.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 27, 2009 @ 8:59 am - February 27, 2009

  14. Ronald Reagan was courageous.

    Well, alright, there’s one little, tiny clue. We must be grateful for the small things!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 27, 2009 @ 9:00 am - February 27, 2009

  15. Freedom means nothing without equality!

    On the contrary: Equality means nothing because, or to the extent, it involves denying people freedom.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 27, 2009 @ 9:01 am - February 27, 2009

  16. “Wanna talk hypocrisy? Gays are pretty much the definition of it.”

    AMEN! I just got this really well worded email from 2 friends of mine who traveled across country to Vermont to get married. Families flew up, friends flew up. It was all bucolic and love, tears and vows, old-fashioned romance that could endure the ages. That was 2 years ago. In the email, they say they’ve “grown apart” and will now pursue thier lives separately. WHAT?!?!?! These two were the portrait ready poster couple for the gay marriage movement. Did they go to counciling? No, they don’t need to. Are they going to Vermont for an anullment? No. Did they not see this coming? No, just happened. What about your vows? Things change. WHAT?!?!?!

    I am so furious I could spit. AND they say that I am not a real friend because all their REAL friends support them, and I am the wet rag who obviously doesn’t love, respect and support them.

    Yeah, and I’m the self-hating gay guy. Excuse me while I sneeze, BULLSHIT!!!

    Sorry, so called gay community. Get your act together. Show some respect for marriage or come up with something else.

    Comment by The Other Peter H — February 27, 2009 @ 10:22 am - February 27, 2009

  17. Ding ding ding! We have a winner in #12. “His response to the AIDS crisis is testimony to that.”

    Feh.

    Comment by The Livewire — February 27, 2009 @ 10:25 am - February 27, 2009

  18. TOPH: You know that too many married straights behave the same way, right? You’re describing something that is indeed deplorable, without being gay-specific. More importantly: Have you expressed your points / feelings directly to your friends?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 27, 2009 @ 11:39 am - February 27, 2009

  19. Whoops, I missed your middle sentence – yes you told them. Very good for you! You did the right thing.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 27, 2009 @ 11:42 am - February 27, 2009

  20. I mean, you know, like, why didn’t the leaders of “No on 8″ enlist Ward Connerly in their campaign?

    Indeed. Ward Connerly gets a lot of heat from the left because he vigorously opposes racial quotas but they are deaf, dumb and blind to the fact that he supports same-sex unions. One would think that in a campaign focused on a single issue like this that they would bring together just about everyone they could regardless of whether they agreed with them on other matters.

    Comment by John — February 27, 2009 @ 1:17 pm - February 27, 2009

  21. Excellent discussion. Very enlightening.

    “Individuality’s fine as long as we do it together.” – Maj. Frank Burns (M*A*S*H)”

    What a great reference.

    Comment by Will — February 27, 2009 @ 5:30 pm - February 27, 2009

  22. #20: I was going to ask what Ward Connerly thought of same-sex unions. Maybe he should be head of the GOP instead of Michael Steele.

    And I respect marriage a lot more than 50% of heterosexuals. Of course, if one gay divorce means gay marriage is a failure, then so is hetero “marriage”.

    #5: Republicans may be cowards, but so are a great many Democrats, especially President Dunham.

    Comment by Attmay — February 27, 2009 @ 5:39 pm - February 27, 2009

  23. I’d be very doubtful of any genuine compassion on his part towards the plights and priorities of the gay community. His response to the AIDS crisis is testimony to that.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/murdock/murdock200312030913.asp

    Reagan used both a September 24, 1978, statement and a syndicated newspaper column to campaign against the initiative.

    “Whatever else it is,” Reagan wrote, “homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual’s sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child’s teachers do not really influence this.” He also argued: “Since the measure does not restrict itself to the classroom, every aspect of a teacher’s personal life could presumably come under suspicion. What constitutes ‘advocacy’ of homosexuality? Would public opposition to Proposition 6 by a teacher — should it pass — be considered advocacy?”

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 27, 2009 @ 5:46 pm - February 27, 2009

  24. I mean, you know, like, why didn’t the leaders of “No on 8″ enlist Ward Connerly in their campaign?

    I was perplexed when I first read this. You said Ward Connerly and I was thinking of Bernie Ward. Yeesh!

    Shouldn’t be BWI, I suppose.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 27, 2009 @ 5:52 pm - February 27, 2009

  25. And I respect marriage a lot more than 50% of heterosexuals.

    The 50% thing is a complete and utter myth.

    Comment by American Elephant — February 27, 2009 @ 6:52 pm - February 27, 2009

  26. #25:

    Prove it. Anything from hate groups like “Focus on the Family” or their ilk will be instantly dismissed.

    Comment by Attmay — February 27, 2009 @ 7:14 pm - February 27, 2009

  27. Very cool post! I was in Hawaii when this happened so was unaware of Reagan’s
    roll – actually – I’d never heard pf prop 6.

    I am straight and married and I voted for prop 8, not because I have anything against gays, but because I thought the judicial fiat overturning the original referendum sucked.
    I suspect many may have voted yes on 8 for this reason, not homophobia. I did not vote in that referendum as I was in Hawaii but probably would have supported at least civil unions for anyone. Aloha

    Comment by Hunt Johnsen — February 27, 2009 @ 8:34 pm - February 27, 2009

  28. Prove it. Anything from hate groups like “Focus on the Family” or their ilk will be instantly dismissed.

    How about the more virulent hate group, The New York Times?

    Here

    Here

    and here.

    In reality the current divorce rate is about 33% and falling.

    And Im not very familiar with Focus on the Family, but why are they a “hate group”?

    Comment by American Elephant — February 27, 2009 @ 10:25 pm - February 27, 2009

  29. Becasue they disagree with attmay, AE

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 28, 2009 @ 1:13 am - February 28, 2009

  30. thegayconservative, to defend homosexuality by saying it is not a disease is not compassion towards gay people. It merely reflects the notion that the legislation was flawed and prone to litigation.

    On the responce to the AIDS crisis:
    On April 2, 1987, Reagan said: “How [information about AIDS] is used must be up to schools and parents, not government. But let’s be honest with ourselves, AIDS information can not be what some call ‘value neutral.’ After all, when it comes to preventing AIDS, don’t medicine and morality teach the same lessons.” (correct me if I’m wrong, but this sounds like a wholesale repudiation of homosexuality to me. Dont want AIDS, dont be gay!)

    When Rock Hudson, a friend and colleague of the Reagans, was diagnosed with AIDS and died in 1985 (one of the 20,740 cases reported that year), Reagan did not speak out as president. When family friend William F. Buckley, in a March 18, 1986, New York Times opinion article, called for mandatory testing for HIV and said that HIV-positive gay men should have this information forcibly tattooed on their buttocks (and IV-drug users on their arms) Reagan said nothing. In 1986, when Surgeon General C. Everett Koop released a report calling for AIDS education in schools, Secretary of Education William Bennett and Gary Bauer, Reagan’s domestic policy adviser, did everything possible to undercut and prevent funding for Koop’s too-little-too-late initiative. Reagan, again, said and did nothing. By the end of 1986, 37,061 AIDS cases had been reported; 16,301 people had died.

    And on the issue of funding, which the national review article you supplied makes a big point of highlighting its apparent compassion:

    When doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health asked for more funding for their work on AIDS, they were routinely denied it. Between June 1981 and May 1982 the CDC spent less than $1 million on AIDS and $9 million on Legionnaire’s Disease. At that point more than 1,000 of the 2,000 reported AIDS cases resulted in death; there were fewer than 50 deaths from Legionnaire’s Disease. This drastic lack of funding would continue through the Reagan years.

    from actupny.org

    Comment by Scott — February 28, 2009 @ 8:10 am - February 28, 2009

  31. thegayconservative, to defend homosexuality by saying it is not a disease is not compassion towards gay people. It merely reflects the notion that the legislation was flawed and prone to litigation.

    OIC. So, in a time when many thought it was a disease, saying that it wasn’t was just a CYA instead of sincerity. Of course we all know that Republicans are all racist, sexist, bigot homophobes, based not on any reality, but on emotion instead.

    (correct me if I’m wrong, but this sounds like a wholesale repudiation of homosexuality to me. Dont want AIDS, dont be gay!)

    The key words, there, are to me. It’s what you want to believe, therefore it is and it can’t be anything else.

    You don’t have any links to those numbers you cite, do you?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 28, 2009 @ 8:09 pm - February 28, 2009

  32. My quotes are from actupny.org, but if you want some stats on reported AIDS cases in the US, they exist. I’ll admit, the numbers are a little skewed, but these ones are from CDC, and their overall number is very much in the correct region. If anything, the actup numbers end up being a little conservative.

    http://www.avert.org/usastaty.htm

    Prop 6 was a piece of anti-gay legislation that would have had an aggregational effect; It would affect multiple communities in unique ways that would provide ample opportunity for litigation and all the potential costs that bears.

    There is precedent for this qualified approach to protecting minority rights through emphasizing the aggregated role of money in discrete acts of discrimination. The challenges to Civil Rights legislation in the Supreme Court led to opinions outlining this route to civil protection under the law. Katzenbach v. McClung, for example, highlighted the explicit connection between protected class rights and articles of interstate commerce, the inclusion of the latter coming before the former. In essence, the campaign against Proposition 6 was successful not because of any universal humanist argument embraced by the Californian conservative hegemony, but because the issue was framed in ways that were ideologically appropriate to potential supporters of the ballot measure, emphasizing the financial implications of discrimination, rather than the human cost.

    As for how I feel about the ‘medicine and morality’ comment, bearing in mind that by 1987 people knew that there was a high probability that it was a blood transmitted disease, and haemophiliac children were dying of AIDS, to use a ‘value neutral’ arguement to justify a muted governmental response to the crisis is hardly displaying compassion or leadership on the issue. If reagan was trying to repudiate only intravenous drug users and promiscuous gay men, then he was intentionally misrepresenting the science of the diesease as it was known at that point.

    Comment by Scott — February 28, 2009 @ 11:57 pm - February 28, 2009

  33. i really admire u guys for been so strong and fight for ur right!!! stay strong!!!!

    Comment by tiff — March 28, 2010 @ 7:25 pm - March 28, 2010

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