1.14.19 Deb Drew of MA Log Cabin Republicans

Hey folks, we had Deb Drew from the MA Log Cabin was scheduled to be on, but a last minute family emergency necessitated a rescheduling. Today at 4 pm we’ll be joined in studio by Deb Drew.

We recieved a lot of feedback when Deb was going to be on. The Log Cabin Republicans are not an oxymoron. Real Conservatives are truly about individual freedom and choice, everything we ask for in the LGBTQ+ community.

4PM – WCUW 91.3 FM and live stream TuneIn app

Deb Drew of the MA Log Cabin Republicans joins Joe in studio to discuss the history and role of the Gay Republicans known as the Log Cabin.

Log Cabin Republicans got its start in California during the late 1970s. After several years of advances for the cause of gay and lesbian rights, a backlash was building. Singer Anita Bryant led a successful “Save Our Children” campaign to overturn an anti-discrimination ordinance in Dade County, Florida. The legislatures of Arkansas and Oklahoma had banned gays and lesbians from holding teaching positions. �In California, Republican State Senator John Briggs, who had ambitions to be governor, proposed a statewide ballot initiative to prevent gay and lesbian people from teaching in public schools. The so-called Briggs Initiative also permitted the firing of any educator who was determined to be “advocating, imposing, encouraging or promoting” homosexuality. Briggs’ vicious campaign to “defend your children from homosexual teachers” seemed to be heading for victory. One poll showed support for the Briggs Initiative leading 61% to 31%.

Many prominent politicians in the Republican and Democratic parties were hesitant about standing up to the bigotry of Briggs and his allies. That’s when gay conservatives turned to former California governor Ronald Reagan. At the time he was preparing to mount a campaign for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination. His advisors all thought he was committing political suicide when he decided to be an outspoken foe of the Briggs Initiative. Reagan declared that the initiative “is not needed to protect our children — we have the legal protection now.” ��Reagan went further, detailing the dangers of passing such a measure. “It has the potential for real mischief,” the former governor explained. “What if an overwrought youngster, disappointed by bad grades, imagined it was the teacher’s fault and struck out by accusing the teacher of advocating homosexuality? Innocent lives could be ruined.”�� Reagan’s forceful opposition helped defeat the Briggs Initiative. In November 1978, voters rejected the Briggs Initiative by more than one million votes. Even in conservative Orange County, Briggs’ home base, the initiative lost. Long-time Democratic gay activist David Mixner met with Reagan in 1978 to personally lobby him on the Briggs initiative, recalling, “Never have I been treated more graciously by a human being. He turned opinion around and saved that election for us,” Mixner said. “We would have been in deep trouble. He just thought it was wrong and came out against it.”

Log Cabin National Board member Terry Hamilton said, “As a teacher, I am personally grateful for Reagan’s courageous action to help stop the Briggs Initiative in 1978.”

The Briggs Initiative was the first statewide electoral victory for proponents of gay rights. Historian David Johnson argues that it was “the greatest electoral victory yet of the burgeoning gay rights movement.” Had Briggs passed in California, similar proposals would have been introduced around the nation.

In the wake of the Briggs campaign, gay conservatives in California formed Log Cabin Republicans. Throughout the 1980s, gay Republicans continued working behind the scenes in Washington—as power players in Congress and during the Reagan Administration.

Meanwhile, Log Cabin chapters sprang up around the United States as more and more people became involved in educating and lobbying the GOP on gay and lesbian issues.
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