Article Title:1978: Harvey Milk vs. the Briggs Initiative
Category:Comment
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:9th February 2009 - 01:47 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
NDHA link:http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/ArcAggregator/arcView/frameView/IE1057574/http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/31/article_7069.php
Note that the National Library of New Zealand (NDHA) website uses both cookies and frames. The first time you click on a link it first may take you to the archived front page of gaynz.com. Close the window and try again. This is because the NDHA website uses cookies and you cannot access an indiviual page without visiting the front page first
Story ID:7069
Text:In the film Milk, there's significant emphasis on the Briggs Initiative, a Californian antigay citizens referendum that was defeated in 1978. How did this arise, and why was it defeated? Marching in 1978's Gay Day Parade against the Briggs Initiative. Photo: GLBT Historical Society It all began in Dade County, Florida, after fundamentalist homophobe Anita Bryant had led a successful campaign to repeal inclusive antidiscrimination measures there. Oklahoma and Arkansas then went a step further, and banned lesbian and gay teachers from public schools, and progay antidiscrimination referenda were defeated in Minneapolis, Eugene (Oregon) and Witchita (Kansas), although a Mormon-sponsored antigay referendum was defeated in Seattle (Washington state). However, California State Senator John Briggs (b 1930) was in Bryant's crowd when the Dade County repeal effort succeeded. Briggs had previously represented the 35th District, which included notoriously conservative Orange County (1966-1974). He then became California State Senator (1976-1981). After retirement from California state politics, he became involved in business lobbying and real estate, and now lives in Southern Nevada. Briggs engineered Proposition Six to similarly ban lesbian and gay teachers from teaching public schools in California state, as part of his ambition to become California state governor. However, California's LGBT communities outorganised him, and eventually, LGBT opponents of Proposition Six included then-California State Governor Ronald Reagan, ex-President Gerald Ford, President Jimmy Carter, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle and Log Cabin Republicans, a new LGBT Republican organisation who lobbied the centre-right against the Briggs Initiative. In the end, the referendum went down to defeat, by over one million votes. It was a significant victory for California's LGBT communities, and a setback for opponents of LGBT rights. Arch religious homophobe Anita Bryant gets hit with a pie in the face on the video clip below, from 1977. Craig Young - 9th February 2009    
Disclaimer:This page displays a version of the GayNZ.com article with all formatting and images removed. It was harvested automatically and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly: access this content at your own risk. A copy of the full article is available (off-line) at the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand. This online version is provided for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of PrideNZ.com. If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us
Reproduction note:Just before GayNZ.com closed in May 2017, the website owners wrote this article about reproducing content from the website: "our work has always been available for glbti people to use and all we ask is that you not plagiarise it... if you use it anywhere please attribute it to GayNZ.com and where there is an authors name attached please acknowledge that writer."