Initiative 13 - Oral Histories

Don Moreland on Initiative 13

I was in California at that time working on Proposition Six. And both Initiative 13 here in Seattle and Proposition Six were the first two gay initiatives where the gay side won. That’s really important to understand. This is the first time we faced the voters and -- both in California and in Seattle -- the gay side -- had won. Proposition Six was anti-gay teacher but it went far beyond that. It went to day care workers, or people dealing with kids in any way who were gay or lesbian. Whereas in Seattle it was much more of a civil rights question, so maybe Seattle was the really first victory, if you want to put it that way, but they both occurred on the same night.

Don Moreland, interview by NWLGHMP, tape recording, Renton, WA, 2 February 2006.

Roger Winters on Initiative 13/Proposition 6

... The Briggs initiative in California happened the very same time and was voted down the very same night. This was an anti-gay teacher measure in California which got most of the attention. But this writer in Saturday Review said it was Seattle that she would call the “El Alamein” of the gay-rights movement. El Alamein was a battle that turned the tide in World War [II]. So he [sic] said the El Alamein -- where a series of defeats was turned to a great victory, and the movement turned around because after the Seattle experience and after the winning in that locality, the Anita Bryant effort kind of fizzled out.

Roger Winters, interview by NWLGHMP, tape recording, Seattle, WA, 30 August 1997.

Jan Denali on Initiative 13

The Seattle Committee Against Thirteen -- it was not all men, but it was the outgrowth of the Union for Sexual Minorities, and it did have that male dominance. Then, there was the Women Against Thirteen--so it was SCAT/WAT, and we managed to work in wonderful coalition. It was just an amazing model. The thing that made it so cool was ... to have that organization of women to work with and process with, and then go to these SCAT meetings with that support behind you -- just the power of that -- the balance was amazing and wonderful.

We shared office space. What I was mostly involved with was the canvassing project, which was a joint project of SCAT/WAT. ... That was the door-to-door stuff. We were big on education. ... We prioritized the city by precinct, you know, going for the swing precincts: who do you have a prayer of convincing? And running amazing orientation sessions to go out and canvass the city on the issue and being very educational about it. So that was what I did. ...

To be addressing the issue straightforward ... to be able to stand there in front of somebody and have a conversation ... and we had all this stuff about de-briefing and teamwork because you’d get icky stuff too and how to deflect that, and it was all just so completely empowering.

Jan Denali, interview by NWLGHMP, tape recording, Seattle, WA, 4 March 1998.