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Miami-Dade Commissioners Ban Anti-Gay Discrimination
7-6 Favor Ordinance Against Bias in Employment/ Housing

Victory for Local Activists in Anita Bryant's Former Territory

Compiled by GayToday

top1202.jpg - 8.67 K Anita Bryant, bankrupt and washed up in Branson, Mo., can't be happy with yesterday's decision. Miami, Florida --Miami-Dade County Commissioners voted 7-6 today in favor of an nondiscrimination ordinance that will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and employment.

The affirmative vote, which took place where Anita Bryant founded the modern anti-gay movement, was a huge symbolic victory that highlights the increasing acceptance in recent years of gay and lesbian Americans, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

"The local activists from SAVE Dade did a tremendous job educating the public and the Commissioners and they should be proud of their success. The fact that this win took place in Anita Bryant country is significant and gay and lesbian Americans throughout the nation are rejoicing in this symbolic victory," said HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch.

In 1977, orange juice spokesperson and beauty queen Anita Bryant led a successful crusade to overturn a similar law as the one that passed today. Bryant's group "Save Our Children" served as a model for the Religious Right in their opposition of laws supporting lesbian and gay equality. Bryant's organization foreshadowed the notably vitriolic anti-gay campaigns that became commonplace in similar battles in the 1980's and 1990's.

"Just as Bryant's campaign served as a model for the Religious Right in 1977, SAVE Dade's efforts can today serve as a blue-print for advancing gay and lesbian equality. They realized that most people are against discrimination and effectively articulated why protections are needed," said HRC National Field Director Donna Red-Wing.

Activists tried to get the ordinance passed last year but ran into significant opposition from the Christian Coalition.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson recently reintroduced the measure. Dade County now joins 27 counties and 136 cities with nondiscrimination ordinances nationwide. Other Florida counties and cities with ordinances are: Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), Key West, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Tampa, West Palm Beach. ksorenson.jpg - 12.32 K Katy Sorenson rode the measure to victory for Miami-Dade's gay community.

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