Today in Florida’s Miami-Dade county, voters will decide whether to repeal gay anti-discrimination laws that are already on the books.
The vote comes a quarter of a century after one of the world’s most famous gay rights battles, which also took place in Miami.
In 1977 the pop singer and promoter of the state’s orange juice Anita Bryant led her an anti-gay rights crusade, called Save Our Children. Her slogan? "Homosexuals cannot reproduce so they must recruit." Her campaign led to the overthrow of a local ordinance in Miami-Dade county that forbade discrimination on the grounds of sexuality.
It was not until 1998 that an anti-discrimination measure was reintroduced in the county.
Now the same battle is being refought. A group called Take Back Miami-Dade, is trying to repeal the measure again. The group is backed by the Christian Coalition and other religious groups.
The Take Back campaign has been working hard to get out the Latino and black church-going vote.
Over the weekend Take Back Miami-Dade claimed that election officials were under orders from the Mayor to falsify the results.
The vote is taking place just days after three gay men were attacked in the gay stronghold of West Hollywood in California. One of the men, Trev Broudy, is in a coma.
The vote also comes just days after a gay student won $450,000 from his former Nevada school district because officials failed to put a stop to anti-gay harassment.
Derek Henkle was a victim of serious physical attacks at three different high schools in the Washoe County School District.
The agreement is the first legal settlement to recognize the constitutional right of gay and lesbian students to be out at school and protected from harassment.
The Washoe County School District has also agreed to implement sweeping new policies to protect gay and lesbian students from discrimination, including training all staff on preventing and responding to sexual harassment and intimidation.
- Heddy Peña, co-chair of the No to Discrimination/SAVE Dade campaign
- Derek Henkle, former high school student who sued his school district and won a precedent-setting settlement. He is now 21 years old.
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