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Mixner, David (b. 1946)  
 
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The gay and lesbian communities of California quickly organized to confront this crisis. In northern California, Harvey Milk mobilized a broad coalition to oppose the measure. In southern California, Mixner and Scott and their friends Diane Abbitt and Roberta Bennett formed the New Alliance for Gay Equality (New AGE) to spearhead the campaign against the initiative.

In the course of organizing the campaign, Mixner called upon many of his friends in the Democratic Party and the anti-war movement for help, using this crisis as an opportunity to come out to them.

Sponsor Message.

One of these was Bill Clinton, who telephoned Mixner to tell him that he and Hillary "will always be your friends and you can count on us."

Another friend who responded to the call for help was Senator George McGovern, who agreed to speak at a fundraiser, becoming the first United States Senator to headline an openly gay and lesbian fundraiser.

Ultimately, New Age was folded into the NO on 6 Campaign, with Harvey Milk running the operations in the north and Mixner and Scott running it in the south.

The campaign in the south was aided immeasurably by the leadership of Reverend Troy Perry, the fundraising of realtor Gayle Wilson, and the grassroots organizing of comedian-activist Ivy Bottini. Mixner himself called forth his contacts in the entertainment industry to raise funds and create awareness of the dangers of the initiative.

But perhaps the most significant element in the campaign's success was securing former Governor Ronald Reagan's opposition to the Briggs Initiative.

In a secret meeting with Reagan, who was contemplating a run for the presidency and may have wanted to project a more moderate image, Mixner and Scott made their case against the initiative. A few weeks later the former governor called for the defeat of Proposition 6, echoing the very words Mixner and Scott had used in their meeting. This endorsement prompted a decided shift in the polls. The initiative in November 1978 was defeated by more than a million votes.

In the years following the decisive defeat of the Briggs initiative, Mixner and Scott flourished both personally and professionally. Mixner/Scott became a successful firm, relocating from a West Hollywood apartment to two floors of an office building in Beverly Hills.

The couple bought a beautiful house in Palm Springs where they spent weekends, often entertaining movers and shakers in the political world. They also hosted a reception for Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton with guests from both the straight and gay and lesbian communities.

The gay community became an increasingly significant part of the Democratic coalition in California: politicians who had previously shunned the community now competed for its votes and financial support. In appreciation of the community's support, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed openly gay men and lesbians to visible positions.

AIDS Activism

Then came AIDS. In the early 1980s, the nightmare of the AIDS pandemic quickly made itself manifest among Mixner's circle of friends and acquaintances, affecting even the rich and powerful, such as lawyer, banker, and bathhouse owner Sheldon Andelson, who had been appointed to the Board of Regents of the University of California. Mixner would ultimately see more than 300 of his acquaintances succumb to the pandemic.

In the midst of the AIDS crisis, Mixner and Scott decided to dissolve their firm. Scott became chair of AIDS Project-Los Angeles, the city's largest AIDS service provider.

In order to escape his obsession with the havoc wreaked by AIDS on his friends and his fear of having contracted the virus himself, Mixner threw himself into the peace movement, focusing on nuclear disarmament.

He organized a walk across America for nuclear disarmament, one that would leave Los Angeles in March of 1986 and arrive in Washington in November. Unfortunately, the Great Peace March became a fiasco. Although some determined marchers actually made it to Washington, Mixner was left with massive debt and a profound sense of failure. For the following six years, he devoted himself to paying off the money he owed as a result of the ill-fated project.

Mixner regained his composure after this defeat by refocusing on AIDS and politics. He threw himself into organizing the campaign against a right-wing initiative, Proposition 64, that would have made it mandatory to quarantine people with AIDS.

Unlike the NO on 6 campaign, the battle against Proposition 64 proved easy. The proposition was defeated by a margin of over 70% of the vote.

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