No on 8 Campaign Didn’t Bother to Call Leader Who Defeated Briggs Amendment

Ivy Bottini, the gay rights leader of the successful fight against 1976’s Proposition 6, also known as the Briggs Amendment, didn’t receive so much as a single phone call from the No on 8 campaign, she claimed at a town hall meeting in West Hollywood on Sunday that was organized by grassroots activists from outside the campaign.

She wasn’t alone either.

The meeting, organized after many felt shut out by last month’s “virtual town hall” set up by No on 8 Campaign leaders, had religious leaders, activists and regular citizens demanding accountability from what is now widely seen as an insular and hermetic political campaign.

WeHo News reports:

“Orange County gay rights organization member Harvey List spoke about the lack of outreach made in Orange County by the No On 8 campaign.

“They just wrote the entire county off as going Yes On 8,” he said. “The good thing that came out of it is that there were a number of new organizations that formed [to fill the void]…

WeHo pastor Scott Imler, who preaches at Crescent Heights United Methodist Church as well as at Hollywood United Methodist, said that the faith community, in particular, felt shut out of the campaign.

“We really needed to answer the faith questions straight people have with progressive spiritual voices” he said, “and that idea was anathema to the leaders of No On 8.”

The activists present who had experience on the 1976 attempt to discriminate against gays and lesbians, Ivy Bottini, Torie Osborne to name only two, decried the imbalances in the campaign, saying that lessons learned over 30 years ago failed to be applied. ”

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #california #ivybottini #marriageequality stories and more


  • alan brickman

    THey kept everybody out so they didn’t have to share the money….They should hire Al Gore to create some conspiracy theories on why they lost…and overpay him too!!

  • blake

    @alan brickman:

    It’s a bit much to accuse people of being thieves. Where’s your evidence? I’m all for accepting the fact that the leaders were incompetent and arrogant but not sticky-fingered.

  • Kat


    Where’s *your* evidence that Alan Brickman called anyone a thief?

    Overpaying is incompetence, particularly in this circumstance. But, I saw Alan Brickman assert: “THey kept everybody out so they didn’t have to share the money” and I saw him assert that those in question overpaid themselves – both realities being pretty much par for the course with the self-appointed, self-serving LGB (non-)intelligentsia-oids who say that they know what’s best for all LGBT folks because they say that they know what’s best for all LGBT folks and then expect no one to question their claims that they know what’s best for all LGBT folks even when they repeatedly prove that they don’t know what’s best for anything other than their paycheck sources.

  • Don'tCareAsLongAsItIsADemocrat

    The Briggs Amendment battle was in 1978 not 1976. It was the year after Anita Bryant’s successful battle to get gay protections in Florida’s Dade County removed by popular vote. Her success and subsequent anti-gay crusade inspired briggs to believe that the political climate might be right for his proposed initiative.

  • alan brickman

    Just because your gay or you think your right doesn’t mean you’re going to win…they could have looked at the two previous democratic elections before Obama’s to learn that…Memnbers also took payed vacations running from 2 weeks to a month during the campaign..does anybody think that is competent behavior ??

  • ask ena

    Playing devil’s advocate here…

    We needed to lose this vote.

    I believe more strongly in the principled argument that a majority should never be allowed to vote on a minority’s rights. Had prop. 8 NOT passed, you can be assured the pro-prop. 8 folks would have found an argument to fight the result. Fortunately, OUR argument to fight the result is the correct argument.

    I try to remain realistic (i.e. not too optimistic) that the CA Supreme Court will make the right decision here, but the fact that prop. 8 made it on the ballot in the first place is the biggest concern to me. I know we will eventually retain our right to marry, but I am fearful of the precedent set by this ballot initiative, which allowed my right to be voted away by an ignorant and mis-educated majority.

  • alan brickman

    My big question still is why weren’t Gays marching before all of this..didn’t they learn anything from Stonewall??? Larry Kramer said it too, and he is still one the smartest gays out there…

  • Leland Frances

    1. The larger figure on the left is Robin Tyler. That may be Bottini on the right.

    2. More important, however, is that, whatever Bottini’s accomplishments, and they do exist, she is on record as being AGAINST gay marriage so as much as I think the NO nonleaders fucked up in most every other way, it was LOGICAL for them not to ask her help for there was no reason to believe she would have given it. And her reasons fall under that retarded, “why imitate straight people” crap. Straight people have sex, too. I don’t see anyone suggesting we stop “imitating” THAT!

    3. We will not succeed in changing the future if we don’t clear up more of the myths of the past. Yes, Bottini played a major role in the No on 6/anti Briggs Initiative campaign. Briggs wanted all CA gay teachers fired, and even straight teachers who “sympathized” with us. But she was NOT the “leader who defeated” it. NOR was Harvey Milk.

    As much as I HATE saying it, the leader who defeated it was STRAIGHT and his name was Ronald Reagan. He came out against 6 in the middle of September of 1978, and by the end of that month,support for it had gone down some 20 points from the beginning of the month. It ultimately lost even in Brigg’s home county, the infamous Orange.

    There ARE gays who deserve credit for convincing him to publicly oppose it. One, whose name escapes me at the moment, was a Republican advisor who called David Mixner and his cloe friend, business and campaign partner Peter Scott, asking if a statement from Reagan would help. The other, whose name to the best of my knowledge has never been revealed, was even closer to Reagan and arranged for a private meeting between Ronnie, Mixner, and Scott.

    They convinced him not of the unfairness, the bigotry of it, but that it could cause chaos in schools; that any of the millions of students in CA, disgruntled for whatever reason, could arbitrarily denounce a gay teacher, accuse any teacher of being gay, and the proposition would require a formal investigation, etc., etc. Mr. Discipline was shocked and would have none of that. [Anyone interested can read the details in the great history of the post Gay Lib movement, “Out for Good,” and in Mixner’s own “Stranger Among Friends.”]

    If anyone’s phone should have rung, rather than Bottini’s it should have been Mixner’s [Scott died of AIDS], and the Rev. Troy Perry’s, whose 16-day fast resulted in thousands of dollars being donated to seed the No on 6 campaign, and then he and Del Martin and Leonard Matlovich and Dave Kopay [because, unlike Milk at the time, they had national recognition] barnstormed the country to raise more money.

    And whatever gays who convinced Pres. Carter and Gov. Brown and even the San Francisco Catholic Archbishop [not the fascist in that office now] to also come out against 6 also deserve credit.

    Which brings me back to the relevant REAL way the No on H8TE peeps failed. I am not the first to say that they totally fucked up in not promoting the fact that Obama and Repug Gov. Schwarzenegger were against 8.

    4. Except for refusing to again follow those who failed, the focus should now be on identifying successful tactics not personalities. And, by the by, the Join the Impacters haven’t a clue.

  • seriously?

    Ivy Bottini has long been a very vocal and visible opponent of the notion of gay people getting married, essentially arguing that it is an institution that serves males to dominate women. And haven’t the machinations of electoral politics changed a wee bit since ’78? Yeah, we would have won with more bluehairs helping run the show. Nice sensationalist headline, though.

  • edgyguy

    If she didn’t receive so much as a single phone call, why didn’t she or anyone else with that much experience pick up the phone themselves and offer help? The “No one asked me….” defense seems kind of weak……

  • Bruno

    All right already! They fucked up in many, many ways. We know this by now, do we have to have a new story for every single person they neglected to ask for help?

  • J

    Actually No On 8 did have actions happening in Orange County before the election in the form of person to person recruiting, community visibility and phone banks. And on election day there were No on 8 volunteers at the polls.

Comments are closed.