The Rainbow History Project
Preserving Our Community's Memories

KAMENY FOR CONGRESS



 
 
 

Lilli Vincenz, volunteer coordinator for the campaign, recalled the Kameny for Congress campaign in a message to Rainbow History:
 
"In 1971, when Washington became eligible for the first time for any kind of representation in Congress, Paul Kuntzler and Alan Hoffard came up with the idea of running Frank Kameny for DC non-voting delegate to Congress.  They asked me to join them, and I thought it was a great move, and enthusiastically told my friend Tony Jackubosky about it.  The two of us joined Alan and Paul in pushing Frank to become a DC non-voting delegate for Congress -- which he was initially reluctant to do.  We knew the publicity for the Mattachine Society of Washington (MSW) would be priceless! 

Of course we needed 5000 signatures to get Frank on the ballot, not a small challenge.  Fortunately it was quickly solved by MSW members and the Gay Activists Alliance of New York and another group (who came down in buses) to help us canvas the DC area for signatures.  We had a great human rights platform!  The Personal Freedom Party was dedicated to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," and listed a number of desirable freedoms, protections, and promises,  which almost no one could object to. We got 7,500 signatures and didn't need to be subjected to a recount because of this large number.  We found a very nice, large space for our headquarters right next to the National Theater on Pennsylvania Avenue, and we had several events that drew crowds.  Actors from "Hair," the acclaimed musical at the National Theater, came over and partied with us.  My 16 mm documentaries were shown there: "Second-Largest Minority" (1968) and "Gay and Proud" (1970), the latter having just been completed to document the first anniversary of Stonewall in 1969).

We had a limousine, driving slowly from Pennsylvania Avenue through Georgetown, festooned with balloons, talking to the public by loudspeaker about the benefits of the Personal Freedom Party.  MSW received  tons of phone calls, many of whom were women wanting to meet other women.  MSW gave them my unrestricted telephone number.  My partner, Marcelle, and I were deluged  with calls.  We decided to open our home every Wednesday to provide a safe social setting and alternative to the unsavory bars for all gay and bisexual women and women who thought they might be gay. The Gay Women's Open House (GWOH) lasted till 1979."  For more information about GWOH, click here

"Anyway, we had an election on or about, I think it was the 25th or it was close to it of March 1971.   I ran, with the exception of someone who had run for 
the San Francisco Board of Supervisors a decade before, as 
the first openly gay candidate for anything anywhere!"
-
Listen to Dr. Kameny
-Dr. Franklin E. Kameny,
in a February 2002 Talking History Chat

 
"He [Kameny] got 11% on Capitol Hill, precinct 89 and the other was Foggy Bottom where he got 8%.  In Dupont Circle we got 5%.  So the biggest area was on Capitol Hill."
--Paul Kuntzler

 
The Kameny Vote: Returns by Ward
WARD
Votes for Kameny
Rank among six 
candidates in ward vote
1
174
fourth
2
325
fourth
3
588
fourth
4
156
fourth
5
106
fifth
6
325
fourth
7
105
fifth
8
62
fifth

Gay Blade Vol 2 No. 7, April 1971, p. 1 © Window Media.

 


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