Virginia "Ginny" Foat (born 2 June 1941) is an American politician and feminist. Foat was acquitted in 1983 of having participated in a 1965 murder committed by her then husband, but the publicity derailed her activist career at the time. She is currently serving as a city councilmember in Palm Springs, California.
Life and career
Born to August ("Gus") and Virginia Galluzzo, Foat graduated from Grace Downs Academy and became a flight attendant. She married Danny Angelillo in 1961, but the marriage was annulled in 1963, at which time she learned she was pregnant. She left home for a home for unwed mothers, where she stayed until she had the baby, which was given up for adoption.
After her return home, she married bartender John "Jack" Sidote in 1965. In her 1985 autobiography, she describes enduring five years of domestic violence, receiving her first beating on their honeymoon. Sidote was eventually convicted of manslaughter in California in the 1967 slaying of Okeni Moe, and she left him.
She married Ray Foat in 1971, attended her first National Organization for Women meeting in 1974, and quickly moved up the ranks in the organization.
In 1977, Foat was arrested after her former husband Sidote named her as an accomplice in a Nevada murder and the 1965 murder of New Orleans tourist Moises Chayo. She was released after three months when Sidote refused to testify against her in the Nevada case.
Foat campaigned for the national vice presidency of NOW in 1982, but NOW member Shelly Mandell alerted Louisiana authorities of Foat's identity, and she was arrested and put on trial in 1983 in Gretna, Louisiana. Foat was acquitted, but the incident affected her political ambitions. Foat wrote an autobiography and worked for several political causes throughout the 1980s and 1990s. During this time she came out as lesbian.
Foat was elected to fill an unexpired term on the Palm Springs City Council in 2003, then elected to a full four-year term the following year.
- Orth, Maureen (June 22, 1986). Sororcidal warfare. New York Times
- Marcus, Frances Frank (November 17, 1983). Ginny Foat, the Ex-NOW leader, acquitted of murder in California. New York Times
- KESQ: Wedding of Same-Sex Couples Possible Following Ruling
- Foat, Ginny (with Laura Foreman). Never Guilty, Never Free. Random House, 1985. ISBN 978-0394541419
- Hawkes, Ellen. Feminism on Trial: The Ginny Foat Case and the Future of the Women's Movement. William Morrow & Co, 1986. ISBN 978-0688048501