Wikipedia woes

From William A. Percy
Revision as of 17:35, 16 September 2012 by Edboyce (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedic repository of human knowledge, including short biographical articles about people who've had significant impact on society and its currents. However, I fear that the historical record of older gay activists is becoming a casualty of a long running battle between the opposing Deletionist and Inclusionist factions of the Wikipedia community.

Besides the entry on myself, which has been gutted, a recent effort by Wayne Dynes and Ed Boyce to succinctly record the biographical significance of the late Category:Warner, Authur was summarily deleted.

So that it is not completely lost, here is the article they had researched and attempted to post:

Template:User sandbox Template:Use mdy dates Template:Infobox person

Arthur Cyrus Warner

Prominent in the gay-liberation movement, Arthur Cyrus Warner (February 14, 1918 - July 22, 2007) focused his considerable energies on legal reform to protect the civil liberties of homosexuals (Lauritsen, John, Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, pp. 282-290: Arthur Cyrus Warner, 2002, Harrington Park Press, New York) Crowned by successful efforts, first in his home state of New Jersey, to overturn anti-sodomy and other laws used to persecute gay people in several US states, he has been largely forgotten.

Born in Newark, Warner for almost the last half century of his life lived in the house built by his socially ambitious parents in Princeton, abutting the Institute for Advanced Study. His mother was born in Paynesville, Minnesota, and his father belonged to a family engaged in the wholesale grocery business in Newark. Both were of Russian-Jewish origin, a secret he kept until a few years before his death.

His mother hired the governess of the viceroy of Australia to bring up him and his brother, who also went to Princeton and Harvard Law School. After receiving his AB degree from Princeton in 1938, Warner entered Harvard Law School. His studies there were interrupted by World War II, and he served in the United States Navy, attaining the rank of Second Lieutenant. After receiving an undesirable discharge stemming from homosexual conduct, he returned to Harvard Law School, where he earned his LLB in 1946. Although he succeeded, after a long legal battle, in having the Navy discharge changed to the status of honorable, the damage was done, and he was never able to practice law as he had fervently hoped. Then he entered Harvard Graduate School to study English history, receiving his AM degree in 1950 and his PhD in 1960. While he briefly taught history at the University of Texas, El Paso, he lived most of his life as an independent scholar with his mother, maintaining many contacts from that base in Princeton (Lauritsen, John, Farewell to Authur Warner, , Pagan Press Books).

Arthur engagement with issues of homosexual civil rights began early, when in the late 1940s he started to attend meetings of a New York City group known simply as The League. From 1954 on he was active in the Mattachine Society of New York, serving as chairman of the legal department. Initially he chose to mask his identity under the name of Austin Wade. For a time Arthur was associated with Frank Kameny of Washington, D.C., who coined the phrase "Gay is good." Eventually, Warner and Kameny had a falling out over strategy, Arthur deploring the Stonewall Roits. Each continued to work in his own way for gay rights, though becoming bitter antagonists of each other.

In 1971 Warner founded the National Committee for Sexual Civil Liberties (later renamed the American Association for Personal Privacy), a high-level think tank comprising lawyers, historians, theologians, and other professionals. From the beginning, Warner's focus, and that of the group he founded, was legal reform--especially the repeal of the sodomy statutes, which he regarded as the linchpin of all discrimination against homosexuals (Warner, Authur and Barnet, Walter, "Why Reform the Sodomy Laws?" Princeton: National Committee for Sexual Civil Liberties, 1971). He was encouraged by the recommendations for decriminalization of homosexual conduct embodied in the Wolfenden Report in England (1957), and the Model Penal Code (MPC), a statutory text approved by the American Law Institute (ALI) in 1962. Among those closely associated with Warner in this work were Thomas F. (C OR F?????) Coleman, an attorney; Paul Hardman, an gay activist in San Francisco who published the California Voice weekly gay newspaper in that city for many years; and Wayne R. Dynes, chair of the Gay Academic Union.

Working largely behind the scenes, Warner and his associates achieved success in several individual states, including Nebraska, preparing the way for the eventual victory in the U. S. Supreme Court in the Lawrence case of 2003. ( Warner, Authur, "Non-commercial Sexual Solicitation: The Case for Judicial Invalidation", SexuaLaw Reporter, 1978, January-Marchm 4:1, pp. 1, 10-20) (Clendinen, Dudley and Sigourney, Adam, Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America, pp. 96 and 259, 1999, Simon & Schuster, New York)

Arthur Warner's papers document his involvement in legal reform and other issues pertaining to homosexual civil rights. The bulk of the papers consist of legislative and court documents about cases affecting gay civil liberties, and related memoranda, correspondence, and writings. The papers, mainly covering the period from 1946 to 2000, are preserved in the Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University Libraries

His will directed that his funds be used to establish the Sentience Foundation, headquartered in Freehold, New Jersey (


Personal tools