Gay Rights in Miami

The issue of gay rights grew into a national story in Miami on Jan. 18,1977 when a throng of conservatives — led by entertainer and Florida orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant — packed Miami-Dade County’s commission chambers to protest the potential passage of a gay rights ordinance. As a heated debate took place inside the downtown chambers, temperatures outside dropped to a record low. Commissioners passed the ordinance by a 5-3 margin. As the sun rose the following morning, Miamians awakened to snowflakes — the first and only time snow fell upon the city. Miami-Dade became the first major urban area in the country to pass legislation protecting gays. Bryant vowed to lead a repeal to the ordinance- and succeeded.  It took more than 20 years for Miami-Dade to revive and pass the law.
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Buy any of these photos in the Herald store

Want to know more? Watch The Day it Snowed in Miami, an Emmy-winning documentary that traces the political activism behind an equal-rights statute in Miami, and how it galvanized the gay rights movement in Florida and beyond.