Busch, Corey: Moscone civil rights


Corey Busch: He was one of the earliest and first advocates of gay rights because to George Moscone gay rights were civil rights. You were not afforded your full rights as a human being because you were black or because you were brown or because you were gay, or because you’re a woman. It didn’t matter. Civil rights were for everybody. If you look back on it now, having had so much time go by we have the ability to look at it through the perspective of history over thirty years now, you come to realize that what George Moscone did as a straight, white, Catholic from San Francisco advocating rights for homosexuals in the early 70’s, passing the first gay rights legislation in the country in California in the early 70’s. By him doing that as a straight white man, as a Catholic, it gave cover to other straight politicians. It gave cover to a lot of gays to come out of the closet because if he had the courage to do it and the ability, the skills to be able to pass that kind of legislation, then others felt more comfortable in getting in line. I think as we look back now on the Gay Rights Movement a lot of people, George Moscone at the very top of the list, a lot of straight people back then threw the doors open and made it possible in many ways for a civil rights movement that focused on rights for gays really was taking shape at that time. He was a fervent opponent of the death penalty. He didn’t believe in it. He didn’t believe it worked. The evidence convinced him it didn’t work. He believed it was inhumane, and above all he believed it was hypocritical. That it was very difficult to tell a child that it’s wrong to kill someone while the state goes out and kills somebody because that message then to that child is it’s wrong to kill someone except sometimes, and George had a real problem with that.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, University of the Pacific Library

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