The AIDS Plague years is the darkest chapter in gay history. The moments of pain, horror, and degradation that gay men suffered is all but forgotten today except by those who lived through it and survived.
One of those dark moments happened in California in 1986 when paranoid perennial Presidential candidate and nutjob Lyndon LaRouche at the height of the hysterical anti-gay backlash that had sprung up against the growing AIDS epidemic, founded his Prevent AIDS Now Initiative Committee (PANIC), which gathered enough signatures to place Proposition 64 onto the ballot. Prop 64, also known as the LaRouche Initiative, would have placed AIDS onto California’s list of communicable diseases under the state’s public health law, and that would have effectively forced anyone who was HIV-positive out of their jobs and schools and into a quarantine.
LaRouche and his followers claimed that such measures were required because AIDS was “worse than the Black Death” and was “more deadly to mankind than a full-scale thermonuclear war.” “A person with AIDS running around is like a person with a machine gun shooting up a neighborhood,” LaRouche told a San Francisco radio program. He also charged that “AIDS is the first known epidemic which could potentially wipe out the entire human race” and that his detractors were “guilty of one of the most evil cover-ups in medical history.”
Luckily despite support by Congressman William E. Dannemeyer, Prop 64 lost in a landslide, 71% to 29%. LaRouche brought it back again in 1988 as Prop 69, and lost by an even wider margin. He also made that AIDS quarantine the centerpiece of his 1988 presidential campaign, which again he lost. But losing never stopped LaRouche from making other heinous lunatic remarks.