George Richard Moscone (November 24, 1929--January 6, 2010) was an American Democratic politician from the state of California. Moscone served in the U.S. Senate from 1992 until 2006. Previously Moscone had served two terms as mayor of San Francisco and as Majority Leader of the California State Senate.
Moscone was born and raised in San Francisco. He first held political office as a city supervisor from 1963 until 1966. He then served for ten years in the California State Senate and championed liberal causes as Democratic leader.
Moscone was elected mayor in 1975 over conservative Supervisor John Barbagelata. He went on to serve two terms as mayor, becoming known as a staunch progressive and gaining favor among minorities. In 1977 he presided over the first district-based elections for Board of Supervisors, which saw the election of new leaders including the openly gay Harvey Milk. The heterosexual Moscone was instrumental in the passage of anti-discrimination laws supported by Milk and was generally considered to be ahead of his time on gay rights issues. Another of the new class of supervisors, Dan White, became disgruntled after losing his job and attempted to kill Moscone and Milk in 1978; the attempt was thwarted by a police officer.
Moscone remained active in California politics after leaving the mayoralty in 1983. In 1990 he unsuccessfully ran for governor of California. However, he was more successful in running for an open U.S. Senate seat which he won in 1992.
In the Senate Moscone became known as a champion of liberal causes. He championed the health care reform plans proposed by the Clinton Administration, which were ultimately unsuccessful. Moscone also became known as the Senate's leading champion of gay rights. With his friend Harvey Milk (now a U.S. Representative) Senator Moscone was instrumental in the opposition to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Bill and helped persuade President Clinton to veto it. Moscone sponsored numerous laws curtailing discrimination against women and minorities. He became something of a hero to the gay community, though not in the same pioneering manner as Milk.
In 2006 Moscone discovered he had esophageal cancer and that his prognosis was grim. He immediately announced he would not run again for the Senate. Fellow Democrat Steve Westly ultimately won the seat.
Even at the height of his battle with cancer, Moscone managed to appear at numerous rallies opposing Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure banning gay marriage that was ultimately defeated.
Moscone died at his home on January 6, 2010. Political luminaries from across the state and the country attended his memorial service in San Francisco. He is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California.