Oral History Interview, David Clarenbach (1102)
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In these interviews with Andrea Rottman, David Clarenbach talks about his efforts as a state legislator to pass legislation related to the LGBTQ community (sessions one and three), as well as his relationship with that community in Wisconsin (session two). In the first session, he discusses his strategy for two bills: the civil rights or gay rights bill, also known as the anti-discrimination bill, and the consenting adults, or sexual privacy bill. From his first election to the Assembly (elected in 1974, took office in Jan. 1975,) Clarenbach kept introducing both bills in every session. The anti-discrimination bill prohibited the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, and public accommodations. This bill became law in 1982. The consenting adults bill made consensual sex between adults legal and was passed in 1983. Clarenbach describes legislative manoeuvres that helped gain support and overcome obstacles. He discusses individual legislators’ motivations to vote for or against the bills, and the role that closeted gay legislators played for the passage of the bills. He also describes Milwaukee activist Leon Rouse’s important work. In the second session, Clarenbach talks about his sexuality and how it related to his work, and to his relationship to the gay and lesbian community. He discusses how his relationship and marriage with a woman was received by the LGBTQ community. In the third session, the conversation goes back to the legislative process, as Clarenbach elaborates why the consenting adults bill was introduced as a request bill, and explains activist Leon Rouse and Representative Dismas Becker’s parallel effort for an anti-discrimination bill for gays and lesbians. This interview was conducted for the interviewer’s master thesis, and for inclusion into the UW—Madison Oral History Program.
Lloyd Barbee, gay rights/anti-discrimination bill (AB 70), consenting adults/sexual privacy bill, legislative strategy, Stonewall, gay marriage, Madison LGBT community
In these interviews, former state legislator David Clarenbach details his efforts to pass state legislation in relation to LGBTQ rights. He also describes Milwaukee activist Leon Rouse's important contributions. To learn more about this oral history, download & review the index first (or transcript if available). It will help determine which audio file(s) to download & listen to.