Polls taken before the referendum showed that a majority of Miami voters favored the antidiscrimination amendment, although a considerable number remained undecided. A survey commissioned by the Dade County Coalition found that pro-gay voters were numerous but “extremely apathetic” compared to Bryant’s supporters. The ordinance went down to a stunning defeat.
Gay leaders had known they might lose, but none predicted a 69.3 to 30.6 percent landslide. Final totals showed 202,319 votes in favor of repeal and 89,562 opposed. Only 61 of Dade County’s 446 precincts supported retention of the law.
Turnout was higher than anticipated, 45 percent of eligible voters. An examination of voting patterns showed that precincts voting against the ordinance had turnouts higher that the countywide average. African American voters stayed away from the issue, while Latino voters rejected it, registering barely 15 percent in favor in Little Havana. Areas populated by Jewish voters and other largely liberal voting blocs showed an atypically low turnout and more balanced results than in most elections. GO TO PANEL 16