APLA Commitment To Life VI
Los Angeles, CA
November 18, 1992
David Geffen and Barbra Streisand were presented the “Commitment To Life” award by the AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) at the Universal Amphitheater. Barbra's Streisand Foundation contributed thousands to AIDS causes.
A ceremony and concert held on November 18th raised 6 million dollars to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles.
Barbra participated in the evening's Second Act musical tribute to West Side Story.
But Barbra stopped the show when she stepped out onto the stage and the introduction of “I Have A Love” began. Johnny Mathis entered stage left and began singing. When Barbra sang her first lines (“I love him...”) the entire audience sighed!
Introduced by Warren Beatty, Barbra then gave an impassioned speech to the mostly gay audience.
Barbra Streisand called for a boycott of the state of Colorado, in the wake of that state's passage of Amendment 2, a measure that voids and prevents adoption of legislation that protects gays and lesbians from discrimination [ ... ]
"There are plenty of us who love the mountains and rivers of that truly beautiful state (Colorado)," said Streisand. "But we must now say clearly that the moral climate there is no longer acceptable. And if we are asked to, we must refuse to play where they discriminate."
Streisand's impassioned endorsement was just what boycott organizers had been looking for, and could open the door to a widespread industry freeze-out of the state. Since the election, two groups have announced Colorado boycott campaigns in the entertainment industry: The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation - Los Angeles (GLAAD-LA) and Coloradans and Californians for Fairness in the Nation (COFFIN).
With bitter criticism for the Reagan and Bush administrations' handling of the AIDS crisis, Streisand expressed hope that president-elect Clinton will put AIDS high on his agenda, quoting the Arkansan in saying, "'AIDS policy can now be made based on sound scientific and public health principles, not on panic, politics and prejudice.' "
After her speech, Barbra sang “Somewhere.”
Streisand vs. “South Park”
An interesting addendum to Barbra calling for a boycott of Colorado at this 1992 APLA event involves the “Mecha-Streisand” episode of South Park which aired in 1998 and featured an unflattering caricature of Streisand who turned into a huge mechanical monster that destroyed the town.
In the DVD commentary for the episode, Matt Stone and Trey Parker (the co-creators of the show), admitted “we just hated her.” They explained that the reason they went after her on the “Mecha-Streisand” episode was because of Streisand's boycott of Amendment 2 —which, they added “wasn't anti-gay, but it was what a lot of gay activists saw as anti-gay.” The South Park creators (and Coloradans) were in college at the time and were angered by Streisand because she “basically called Colorado a bunch of hicks and said if you pass Amendment 2, I'm never coming back to Colorado again.” They added, “She thinks that because she's Barbra Streisand people should listen to her opinions on politics.”
What's interesting here is that Stone and Parker and their very liberal show missed the point of Amendment 2 — which was funded by conservative Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz via the ultra-conservative and Christian organization Colorado for Family Values.
It passed (like Prop 8 in California in 2008) by a slim majority in 1992 and would have prevented any city, town or county in the state from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to recognize gay and lesbian citizens as a protected class of people.
Stone and Parker's statement that “a lot of gay activists saw [Amendment 2] as anti-gay” couldn't be more wrong. Amendment 2 was anti-gay and was funded and promoted by religious extremists. It also broke the fundemental balance of democracy that the founders of America worried about: that the majority could abuse its powers to oppress a minority just as easily as a king.
The United States Supreme Court ultimately ruled in a 6-3 decision that Amendment 2 violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: “It identifies persons by a single trait and then denies them protection across the board. The resulting disqualification of a class of persons from the right to seek specific protection from the law is unprecedented in our jurisprudence.”
Streisand, in her APLA speech, saw the bigotry and prejudice behind the amendment and called upon her friends in the room to boycott the state.
Stone and Parker were infuriated and reviled Streisand in one of their episodes.
Who's on the right side of history here?
Below: Pages from the Commitment to Life VI program, with congratulatory ads from Michael Jackson, and Herb Ritts.
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