I.B. Mayor Brian Billbray Distances Himself from Log Cabin Club

When Imperial Beach Mayor Brian Bilbray ran for state assembly two years ago, he received an endorsement from the twenty-five member San Diego Log Cabin Club. This group of gay Republicans found Bilbray to be sympathetic to their concerns, and some members walked precincts for the candidate, who was eventually defeated in the Republican primary by Sunny Mojonnier. So support from the Log Cabin Club — which functions as a political counterweight to the 200-member gay San Diego Democratic Club — would seem a natural fit for Bilbray’s current campaign against county Supervisor Tom Hamilton.

Bilbray, however, now wants nothing to do with the club. He recently told Log Cabin spokesman Allan Giesen that he opposed State Assembly Bill 1 (AB1), which would have given job protection to gay workers. And the aspiring supervisor also derided the Log Cabin Club’s past endorsement as “something arranged by my enemies.”

Bilbray says he’s always opposed gay-rights and job protection measures, which are major priorities of the Log Cabin membership. But an interest in pleasing San Diego County Sheriff John Duffy is also evident in Bilbray’s current statements. He says he led the Imperial Beach City Council in going on record against AB 1 because of the difficulties it would cause for Duffy, who has resisted hiring acknowledged homosexuals as deputies. Log Cabin Club spokesman Giesen say’s Bilbray’s current position is also motivated by polling results taken by the Bilbray campaign. Those surveys, which Giesen was privy to, showed a majority of South Bay voters rejecting both gay rights and abortion. “Brian’s coming out hard against both those issues because his campaign consultant figures it’ll help him get elected,” Giesen says. Bilbray refutes this logic, arguing that his surveys showed gay rights and abortion aren’t issues in the campaign.

While Bilbray’s antigay position has angered Giesen, it has had little effect on Meyers Jacobsen, a Log Cabin member and Bilbray supporter. Jacobsen was unaware of Bilbray’s opposition to AB 1 when he gave the candidate $125 and wrote a letter published in the weekly Gayzette endorsing Bilbray. Jacobsen now says his knowledge of Bilbray’s antigay stance may “put a chill on further financial support for Brian, but I still think he’s energetic and speaks his own mind. I’m not going to dash out and ask for my money back.”

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