In the National Review last week, Deroy Murdock used the occasion of gay activists advertising their juvenile mockery of the most successful domestic policy president of the last century at the White House to debunk gay left lies about that great man.
Murdock reminds us that Ronald Reagan opposed the Briggs Amendment, “a ballot initiative that would have dismissed California teachers who ‘advocated’ homosexuality“, writing in his “his nationally syndicated newspaper column” that “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.”
And this in 1978 when popular opinion, to borrow an expression, had not yet evolved on the issue.
Not just that. The Gipper was not, as some activists have alleged, indifferent to the AIDS epidemic. To the contrary, he “signed $5.73 billion in U.S.-government anti-AIDS outlays” — or, ” $10.6 billion in today’s dollars.” Deroy calculates that the “average annual increase in federal expenditures on HIV/AIDS under Reagan was 128.92 percent.
And the Gipper may well have been the first U.S. President to openly host an openly gay man — and his partner — in the White House. According to a March 18, 1984 story from the Washington Post: “Ted Graber, who oversaw the redecoration of the White House, spent a night in the Reagans’ private White House quarters with his male lover, Archie Case, when they came to Washington for Nancy Reagan’s 60th birthday party — a fact confirmed for the press by Mrs. Reagan’s press secretary.”
Do wonder why the various gay organizations don’t give Mr. Reagan more credit for his open-mindedness. And his courage in opposing the Briggs Initiative in 1978 when such opposition could have cost him support with the then-fledging social conservative movements.