Nicholas F. Benton

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Nicholas F. Benton
Born (1944-02-09) February 9, 1944 (age 71)
Ross, California
Nationality American
Other names Nick Benton
Education Westmont College (B.A., 1965),
Pacific School of Religion (M.Div., 1969)
Occupation Owner, publisher, and editor-in-chief of the Falls Church News-Press
Known for Gay liberation activist, journalist, Chamber of Commerce leadership
Religion United Church of Christ

Nicholas F. "Nick" Benton (born February 9, 1944) is the founder, owner, and editor of the Falls Church News-Press, a weekly merchandiser distributed in Falls Church, Virginia, and in parts of Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Washington D.C.

Born in Ross, California, Benton earned a degree in English from Westmont College (a Christian college[1]) in 1965. After college he was a reporter and sports writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press.[2] He obtained a master of divinity degree in 1969 from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. He became a contributor to the underground newspaper Berkeley Barb, helped found the Berkeley Gay Liberation Front and wrote the first editorial for the newspaper Gay Sunshine.[3][4] Others active in Berkeley Gay Liberation Front included Mike Silverstein, Konstantin Berlandt, Winston Leyland, Michael Itkin, Smedley Ambler, Gary Alinder, Tom Brougham, Leland Traiman, Jim Fishman, and Pat Brown.[5][6][7]

In 1970, Benton was involved in militant actions to get the White Horse Inn (a gay bar a mile south of UC Berkeley) to loosen its restrictive policies toward expression of gay identity.[8]

Also in 1970, Benton became the first Gay Liberation spokesman to address a major anti-war demonstration.[9]

Benton worked for the Lyndon LaRouche organization from 1974 until the late 1980s, first as a political organizer, and later as the Washington D.C. bureau chief and White House Correspondent for LaRouche's Executive Intelligence Review.[10] In 2007, Benton wrote that he had left the LaRouche movement in the 1980s.[11]

Benton founded the Falls Church News-Press in March 1991,[12] and in July 2010 celebrated the periodical's 1,000th edition.[4] He has served twice as the president of the local Chamber of Commerce, been named Falls Church's “Pillar of the Community” twice and “Business Person of the Year” once, and had his enterprise named “Business of the Year” twice. He has authored a weekly national affairs column in his periodical since 1997.[13]

In 2005, Benton founded the “Nicholas F. Benton Diversity Affirmation Education Fund” for the Falls Church City Public Schools.[14]

In November 2009, Benton was unsuccessful in a bid to acquire the Washington Blade in the wake of the bankruptcy of the Blade's parent company.[15]

In December 2010, he was elected to the newly created Stonewall LGBT Caucus of the Virginia Democratic Party.[16]

Benton has been married and divorced three times; he has no children. His third wife lives in Falls Church.[17]



  1. ^ "About Westmont". Westmont College. Retrieved 2015-03-26. Mission: Westmont College is an undergraduate, residential, Christian, liberal arts community serving God’s kingdom by cultivating thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders for global engagement with the academy, church and world. 
  2. ^ Bergholz, Richard "Labor Party Candidate Seeks GOP Aid: Proposes Creation of Nonpartisan Committee to Beat Brown" Los Angeles Times, Mar 14, 1978, pg. C2
  3. ^ "Gay Sunshine". Berkeley, California: Gay Sunshine Collective. OCLC 7445902. Lay summary. 
  4. ^ a b Eisele, Al (2010-07-26). "A Very Good Week for a Small Town Newspaper Publisher". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  5. ^ Serinus, Jason Victor (2009-06-25). "The legacy of the Gay Liberation Front". Bay Area Reporter. Volume 39 (issue 26). Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  6. ^ Benton, Nick (2013-09-01). Extraordinary Hearts: Reclaiming Gay Sensibility's Central Role in the Progress of Civilization. Lethe Press. p. 142. ISBN 9781590213926. OCLC 853618574. 
  7. ^ Morgan, Kyle (August 2011). "Gay Sunshine records, 1955-2005, bulk 1970-2005". University of Southern California Libraries. Retrieved 2015-03-26.  In Appendix C (Gay Sunshine Journal index 1970-1982).
  8. ^ Olson, David (2001-06-22). "Sanctuary: The inside story of the nation's second oldest gay bar, Berkeley's White Horse Inn". Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 2015-03-25. Just before the protest began, Benton had moved into a one-bedroom apartment across the street from the bar, and after the boycott began, he turned it into a 'People's Alternative' to the White Horse 
  9. ^ Frazier, Lessie Jo; Cohen, Deborah, eds. (2009-10-27). Gender and Sexuality in 1968: Transformative Politics in the Cultural Imagination. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 43. ISBN 9780230101203. On October 31, 1970, Nick Benton of the Berkeley GLF became the first Gay Liberation spokesman to address a major antiwar demonstration. When rally monitors attempted to prevent folksinger Don Burton from singing after Benton's speech, gay freaks started a disruptive chant, forcing monitors to relent.  (Don Burton was known as "San Francisco's Gay Folk singer.")
  10. ^ Toporek, Bryan. "The Life and Times of Nicholas F. Benton". Georgetown Journalism. Georgetown University. Archived from the original on 2008-10-17. 
  11. ^ Benton, Nicholas F. (2007-06-27). "Nicholas F. Benton: How I Explain LaRouche". Falls Church News-Press. Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  12. ^ Elfman, Lois, “Community Voice,” The Scene magazine, February 2006.
  13. ^ Mecca, Tommi Avicolli, ed. (2009-06-01). Smash the Church, Smash the State!: The Early Years of Gay Liberation. San Francisco: City Lights Publishers. ISBN 978-0872864979. 
  14. ^ PR Newswire, “Falls Church News-Press Owner Nicholas F. Benton Donates $10,000 to Falls Church City Schools to Establish Ground-Breaking 'Diversity Affirmation Education Fund',” May 2, 2005.
  15. ^ Pearce, Katie, “Washington Blade Staffers Plan New Venture After Gay Weekly Folds,” The Washington Current, Nov. 18, 2009.
  16. ^ Mansberger, Terry, “LGBT Democrats Earn a Seat at the Party,” Falls Church News-Press, Dec. 30, 2010.
  17. ^ Benton, Nicholas F. (2007-08-08). Citizen Nick: Nicholas F. Benton's gay-friendly, progressive paper grows in Falls Church. Metro Weekly. Interview with Will O'Bryan (Washington, D.C.). Retrieved 2015-03-27. 


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