Anita Bryant is a formerly popular musician who managed to place four songs in the Top 40. She is possibly best known for taking a stand against homosexuality in the 1970s, when she fought to repeal a Florida ordinance that disallowed discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The coalition that she created to fight against equality for gays was known as Save Our Children. Based in conservative Christian values, their preferred tactic was to trumpet the alleged sinfulness of homosexuality and the imagined propensity of gays to recruit and molest children. Jerry Falwell lent support to the coalition.
The campaign taught Americans a valuable lesson: If you're famous, be careful spouting your beliefs. In response to her actions, homosexuals and their supporters boycotted Florida orange juice, for which Bryant was a spokesperson. She was also publicly pied on television. She later remarked that "At least it's a fruit pie." Her then husband later threw a pie at the LGBT who had pied her. No record of the flavor was ever made.
In 1979, because of the boycotts and protests, the Florida Citrus Commission, for whom Bryant was a spokeswoman, allowed her contract to lapse. In 1980, she divorced her husband, Bob Green. Green, a fundamentalist, does not recognize civil divorce and believes Bryant is still his wife in God's eyes. Her divorce caused her to be a shunned by some of her more fundamentalist fans, and she was soon without a source of income. Around this time, she started flirting with feminism.
Later in 1980, she remarried and tried to restart her musical career. Her comeback failed, and she and her husband left employees and creditors unpaid. She filed for bankruptcy twice, first in Arkansas in 1997, and again in Tennessee in 2001 and fled without paying bills.
In 1992, she wrote a book about her experiences, A New Day.
For her hometown's 100th anniversary in 2005, a street was named in her honor. Let's hope it has no curves.
The biography page on her ministries' website says she still defends her positions.
- "If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters."
- "All America and all the world will hear what the people have said, and with God's continued help we will prevail in our fight to repeal similar laws throughout the nation."
- "As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children."
- "The church needs to wake up and find some way to cope with divorce and women's problems."
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- Jahr, Cliff (1980). "Anita Bryant's Startling Reversal". Ladies Home Journal (Charter Company) (December 1980): 60–68.