BY LUISA YANEZ
The political battle lines were clearly drawn in 1977 when gays sought approval of a then controversial Dade Human Rights Ordinance, which guaranteed they would not be discriminated because of their “affectional or sexual preference.”
Opposing the ordinance: a group of conservatives led by nationally-known singer Anita Bryant, the state’s orange juice pitchwoman who lived in Miami Beach.
The dramatic clash — the ordinance was initially approved and repealed months later by voters — marked a seminal moment in the nation’s gay rights movement now captured in a documentary that premieres Tuesday night at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach.
The feature-length film by director Joe Cardona in association with the Miami Herald Media Company (MHMC) and WPBT2 will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on Thursday by WPBT2.
Its title, The Day It Snowed In Miami, serves as a metaphor: the ordinance that sparked the outrage was debated by commissioners on an uncharacteristically frigid night and some opponents at the time remarked that the ordinance would pass “when hell freezes over.”
The morning after the ordinance was approved — Jan. 19, 1977 — Miamians woke up to snowflakes for the first and so far only time.
IF YOU GO
The Day It Snowed In Miami, a chronology of the LGBT-rights movement focusing on its early days during the Anita Bryant campaign in Miami-Dade County, is a feature-length documentary by Joe Cardona in association with the Miami Herald Media Company and WPBT2.
The film will air locally at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 6, on WPBT2 and nationally on PBS throughout the rest of 2014.
A premiere screening will be at 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach.
Film tickets are $10 and may be purchased online at www.colonytheatremiamibeach.com or call 305-434-7091.