In 1977, the Dade County ordinance that prohibited discrimination in housing, employment, loans and public accommodation based on race or religion was amended to include “affectional or sexual preference.” That extension of civil rights engendered a backlash among social conservatives.
At the forefront of the backlash was
Anita Bryant, former beauty queen,
singer and citrus industry spokeswoman.
Bryant’s self-styled “Save Our
Children” campaign to repeal
Miami-Dade’s ordinance marked the
beginning of a concerted backlash
against America’s increasingly vocal
and organized homosexual population.
The repeal campaign created a
template that would be used by
social conservatives throughout the
subsequent decades. It also garnered
unprecedented media attention for the
growing gay rights movement.
More than any other event, however,
it also served as a catalyst for the gay
and lesbian community to organize
nationally and fight back.