Gay Conservative Activist Marvin Liebman Dies

Founding Board Member of Log Cabin Republicans Honored for Lifetime of Activism

April 2, 1997 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON) Marvin Liebman, a longtime activist for gay and conservative causes, died of heart disease on Monday in Washington, D.C., at the age of 73. He was a pioneer in political direct mail fundraising, and helped found such organizations as Young Americans for Freedom and the American Conservative Union, and disclosed his homosexuality in an open letter to longtime friend and mentor, William F. Buckley, editor of the National Review in 1990.

"For more than half of my lifetime," Liebman wrote, "I have been engaged in, and indeed helped to organize and maintain, the conservative and anti-communist cause. All the time I labored in the conservative vineyard I was gay."

The author of a 1992 autobiography, Coming Out Conservative, Liebman was the founding Chairman of Log Cabin Republicans when it opened its national office in 1993 in Washington, D.C. Liebman served in World War II in the Army Air Forces in the United States, Africa and Italy, but was discharged in 1944 for being gay and was denied veterans benefits. He worked for the presidential campaigns of Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) in 1964 and Ronald Reagan (R) in 1980, serving in the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations until he retired in 1994.

"The gay movement will miss Marvin's energy," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "He was a courageous man who proved that coming out is the most important thing that each of us has to contribute to the fight for equality."