William E. Dannemeyer (born September 22, 1929), commonly Bill Dannemeyer, is a right-wing U.S. politician, activist, and author. He is currently honorary national chairman of Citizens for a Better America. He served as U.S. Representative from the 39th Congressional District of California from 1979 to 1993, during which time he and friend and fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Robert K. Dornan came to personify Orange County conservatism. Dannemeyer is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
Dannemeyer was born in Long Beach, California. He attended Trinity Lutheran School in Los Angeles and Long Beach Poly High School, entering Santa Maria Junior College in 1947 before transferring to Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. He graduated from "Valpo" in 1950 and earned a J.D. at Hastings College of the Law of the University of California in 1952. From 1952 to 1954 he served in the United States Army in the Counter Intelligence Corps during the Korean War.
He began practicing law in Santa Barbara, California, in 1955, serving concurrently as a deputy district attorney. He moved to Fullerton, California, in 1959 to become the assistant city attorney. He was elected originally as a Democrat to the California State Assembly in 1962 and was reelected in 1964; was a municipal and superior court judge pro tempore 1966-1976; and returned to the Assembly for a final term in 1976 as a Republican.
In November 1978 he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives, and returned for six additional terms. He accumulated a strongly conservative record on the Budget, Judiciary, and Energy and Commerce Committees, supporting legislation to suppress illegal immigration, restrict telephone sex lines, and illegalize flag desecration.
He attempted to block federal funding of evolution-related exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution in 1982 and pushed for loosening the separation of church and state and reinforcing traditional moral norms.
On fiscal issues, he advocated budget cuts in social programs, renegotiation of the national debt, tax reduction, and deregulation. He was the lead Republican sponsor of the 1985 deregulation of natural gas prices.
Dannemeyer was an outspoken critic of homosexuality and on June 29, 1989, infamously read a graphic description of gay sex into the Congressional Record entitled "What Homosexuals Do." In this statement, Dannemeyer said: "activities peculiar to homosexuality include: Rimming, or one man using his tongue to lick the rectum of another man; golden showers, having one man or men urinate on another man or men; fisting or handballing, which has one man insert his hand and/or part of his arm into another man's rectum; and using what are euphemistically termed 'toys' such as one man inserting dildoes, certain vegetables, or lightbulbs up another man's rectum." He gained national notoriety with his proposals to stop the emerging AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, such as banning HIV-positive immigrants. A California ballot initiative he backed which would have mandated widespread testing and mandatory quarantines of persons with AIDS failed by a considerable margin. He did succeed in pushing hospitals to notify post-1977 recipients of blood transfusions that they were at risk. In 1989 he published Shadow in the Land: Homosexuality in America, attacking the gay rights movement.
In 1994 he ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator, but lost to Michael Huffington. After leaving public life, he remained a harsh critic of the Clinton Administration.