On April 13, 1977, the famed singer Anita Bryant helped to create the Save Our Children Campaign in Miami, Florida. She created this campaign because she thought that homosexuals should not have the same rights as straight people. Her initial triumph against homosexual rights led to counter-protests against her campaign and inspired others to become more active in fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people. There have been many triumphs in recent years leading to increased rights and protections for LGBTQ people in the United States today.
In 1977, Dade County, Florida passed a law that banned discrimination based on people’s sexual orientation. This law was sponsored by Anita’s “former friend” Ruth Shack. Ruth believed in equality for all, while Anita felt that it was safer for the country’s children if they never came in contact with homosexuals. Because of this, Anita started a petition to get rid of this “dangerous” law. As she said: “If gays are granted rights, next we’ll have to give rights to prostitutes and people who sleep with St. Bernard’s and to nail biters.” This petition caught momentum, and quickly turned into the Save our Children Campaign.
Anita Bryant was the creator of the Save our Children Campaign. However, there’s more behind this anti-gay icon. Bryant was born on March 25, 1940 in Barnsdall, Oklahoma. She scored four Top 40 hit songs in the US during the late 1950’s and early 1960. Anita married Bob Green on June 25, 1960. They later separated August 19, 1980. In 1969, Anita became a spokeswoman for Florida Citrus Commission. She started her campaign in 1977.
Heart of the Story
The main impact of the Save our Children Campaign were the protests that arose from it. These protests and counter-protests were crucial turning points in how Anita’s campaign affected Florida. The protests were the reason the law was made, and also why it was repealed. The protests for and against Anita’s campaign and the public opinion made the LGBTQ law more like what it is today. Many things have changed from back in 1977, but lots of things are also similar. LGBTQ history has been changed forever because of the effects of Anita Bryant’s Save our Children Campaign.
Even though many people didn’t like the repeal of the law in Miami, Florida, St. Paul was next. St. Paul added the law for homosexuals not to have the same rights as straight people. They were influenced by the Florida law, and sucked into the whole ordeal. Eventually, just like Florida, the law was repealed and everyone was equal again. Even though these laws no longer stand, they still have major effect on these cities, states, and even our country.
Because of Anita’s campaign, gay rights history as we know it has changed. Anita Bryant set off a ripple effect of protests and counter protests. Anita set her legacy on this world, which was positive or negative based on your opinion. Either way, it changed the world.
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