An unusually large crowd, including Anita Bryant, attended the Metro Commissionís hearing on the gay rights ordinance on January 18, 1977. Bryant told commissioners that, although she had worked with homosexuals all her life in the entertainment industry, she could not condone the implicit permissiveness of the antidiscrimination ordinance. A representative of the Archdiocese of Miami called for the billís defeat and raised the specter of homosexual child molesters, declaring that allowing gays to be hired as teachers was like letting ďa fox in the chicken coop.Ē
Despite these urgings, the commission, after a two-hour debate, passed the ordinance on a five to three vote. Former commissioner Robert Brake, who opposed the ordinance, was familiar with the county charter and knew there was a way to subvert the commissionís vote. If enough signatures were gathered, the commission would be required to reconsider its action; it could then either rescind the law or schedule a referendum.
Brake approached Bryant after the hearing and asked if she would lead the petition drive. She immediately accepted. GO TO PANEL 8