1977 June 7

Miami Gay Rights Ordinance Repealed

 

A Dade County (Miami), Florida, referendum repealed a new ordinance that barred discrimination against homosexuals. The law was one of the earliest gay rights laws in the U.S. The referendum to repeal it passed by a two-thirds majority. The repeal effort was led by singer Anita Bryant’s “Save our Children” crusade. Bryant was a popular singer who was a runner-up for Miss America in 1959. (In January 1973, she sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic at the funeral services for former President Lyndon Johnson.) As a result of her efforts opposing the Miami ordinance and related activities, she was for a time the most famous anti-gay rights spokesperson in the U.S.

In the long run, however, Bryant lost the crusade. In 1998, a new lesbian/gay rights ordinance was enacted in Dade County, and the voters rejected a repeal referendum by a 56–44 percent margin.

Learn more: Frederick Lane, The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture (2006)

Bryant’s own story: Anita Bryant, The Anita Bryant Story: The Survival of Our Nation’s Families and the Threat of Militant Homosexuality (1977)

Watch Anita Bryant’s Save Our Children campaign in Wichita, Kansas in 1978: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87sPFeyzGrY

Learn more: Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney, Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America (1999)

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