Gene Otto – Spirituality and Religion

“The church will handle the gay thing.”

There was a drag ball going be here. Guthrie was running for mayor and so he said, “We will not have gay ball in Spokane.” And the bishop from [St. John’s Episcopal] Cathedral at the time took him to lunch at the Spokane Club and said, “Now look. The church will handle the gay thing. You handle the politics and don’t cross over.”[1]



[1]Guthrie unsuccessfully ran for Spokane mayor in 1973, 1977, and 1981. The gay ball discussed here was held on Halloween in 1976. At the time Guthrie was a member of the City Council.


Sources: Interview with Susan Williams on 3 December 2006, held at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture; interview with Laura S. Hodgman on 27 November 2012.