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35 years ago: Singer Anita Bryant vows to repeal Miami-Dade County's original 1977 gay-rights law

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, [email protected]

BryantThirty five years ago, Miami-Dade County passed its original gay rights ordinance, amending the existing nondiscrimination law to ban bias in jobs, housing and public accommodations on the basis of ``affectional or sexual preference.''

Nineteen American cities already had passed similar laws. Newly elected Miami-Dade County Commissioner Ruth Shack's proposal unanimously passed on first reading in December 1976.

On Jan. 18, 1977, an angry throng of conservatives, led by [singer and Florida Orange Juice spokeswoman Anita] Bryant, packed the county's downtown Miami commission chambers. But the ordinance passed 5-3.

Bryant vowed to lead a repeal.

Six months later, nearly 300,000 Miami-Dade voters went to the polls. The final vote: 202,319 (about 70 percent) in favor of repeal; 89,562 against.

It took more than 20 years for Miami-Dade to revive and pass the gay-rights law.

On Dec. 1, 1998, the County Commission again passed the law, on a 7-6 vote. Opponents petitioned for a vote. On Sept. 10, 2002, the law was narrowly upheld.

Click here to read the complete story about Miami-Dade's historic 1977 gay rights battle.

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conservatives as usual working against everyone that is not like them

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