San Francisco: No Apologies, No Regrets Committee, 1991. 8.5x11 inch very good handbill printed in black on white stock.
At the height of the AIDS crisis and in the midst of a wave of queer militancy in the early 1990s, California Governor Pete Wilson vetoed AB101, a statewide gay and lesbian rights bill. In response, angry demonstrators took to the streets around the state. Time Magazine summed up the story a few days later: “It was a week of rage in California, as gay activists smashed windows in government buildings, torched the California flag and burned Wilson in effigy. The governor had betrayed them, the protesters declared.... Wilson, who won his office with the help of gay support, had indicated in April that he would sign the legislation. But last week, after receiving 100,000 letters from impassioned conservatives urging him to scrap the bill, he changed his mind.” In San Francisco, nearly 10,000 people rallied on Castro Street on Sept. 30, 1991, the day after the veto. Thousands then marched to the California State Building on Van Ness Avenue—and with emotions running high, continued to the Old State Building in Civic Center. Outnumbered, San Francisco and California State police retreated to the lobby as a full-scale riot broke out, with protesters smashing windows, spray-painting walls and setting the building aflame. Known as the AB101 Veto Riot, the uprising was the most recent of the three queer riots in the city, following the Compton's Cafeteria Riot of 1966 and the White Night Riot of 1979. The 1991 event resulted in 11 arrests, and according to police reports, caused almost $245,000 in damage. A sharp debate ensued, with some in the LGBT community condemning the damage to state property and others insisting that it reflected justified outrage. The following year, the California Legislature again passed AB101—and the governor signed it into law.