The Day It Snowed In Miami

Air date: Thurs Oct 9 at 9:30 pm

 

This film traces the political activism behind an equal-rights statute in Miami, and how it galvanized the gay rights movement in Florida and beyond. Thirty five years ago, as snowflakes prepared to dust palm trees in a city known for its warmth, Miami-Dade County lawmakers unknowingly debated an issue that would ignite a political maelstrom. The seemingly benign ordinance — essentially an addendum to the county’s existing anti-discrimination legislation — sought to prohibit discrimination in housing, public accommodations or employment based on the basis of “affectional or sexual preference.”

 

On Jan. 18, 1977, a throng of conservatives led by singer and Florida Orange Juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant packed downtown commission chambers in protest. The commissioners ultimately passed the ordinance by a narrow 5-3 margin, but Bryant vowed to lead a repeal — and succeeded. The ordinance set back the gay-rights movement for decades; it took more than 20 years for Miami-Dade to revive and pass the law. The film also chronicles the tragic effects of the AIDS pandemic in South Florida, and the ironic, compassionate turn in public opinion towards the gay community.

 

 

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