Anita cried

Marriages of gay couples began in the state of Florida yesterday, leaving only 14 American states that do not permit gays to marry.

70% of Americans now live in states in which “gay marriage” is legal.

A judge in Florida recently struck down the state’s gay marriage ban. And in spite of the best efforts of Republican politicians, the civil rights victory refused to be overturned.

It’s been an amazing 18 months since the Supreme Court issued its momentous decision in US v. Windsor, which opened the door for gay marriage victories nationwide.

As the Washington Post notes, “when the court heard oral arguments about California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013, only nine states and the District allowed such unions.”

Nine states. Now we have 36 states (and DC). That’s a landslide.

The victory in Florida is an especially exciting win for gay rights advocates as Florida was the scene of one of the most bitter battles in American gay rights history, when singer and former Florida orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant organized the successful repeal of Dade County, Florida’s new ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. After winning in Florida, Bryant then went national, and led several battles across the country against gay rights.

I’ll let Ms. Bryant speak for herself:

“As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children” and “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.”

In response, gay rights advocates launched a nationwide boycott of Florida orange juice. Bryant was also famously hit by a pie in the face during an anti-gay press conference in Iowa in 1977:

So Anita, this day is for you.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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46 Responses to “Anita cried”

  1. Kissmagrits says:

    What do you expect? Anita is from Oklahoma, perhaps the strangest state I ever lived in – – –
    stranger even than Florida. And Anita left three states holding the bag for employee and business taxes and left a string of unpaid business debts. Today, she’s a personal friend of Sally Kern, that loving and cuddly state legislator that we’ve come to admire so much. And I wonder if she knows fellow Oklahoman, the upstanding Chuck Norris – – – –

  2. John B. says:

    I remember this woman and her hateful anti-gay campaign. A vile excuse for a human being, hiding behind religious belief that purports love for their fellow men and women.

  3. John B. says:

    Unfortunately, the right wing wants to send women BACK to 1945.

  4. Cyndi Welton says:

    It’s too bad that a St. Bernard or nail biter didn’t step up afterwards and give her some milk to wash down her pie.

  5. HelenRainier says:

    Gee whiz, I nearly forgot about good old Anita Bryant. Haven’t heard anything about her for so long I assumed she was long gone.

  6. Tom Tallis says:

    I chose to give up Lent for Lent…

  7. TomInCali says:

    Very interesting to see how the observers and security handled that. Everyone stayed calm, and it ended calmly. If that happened today, the pie thrower would have been tackled, tased, likely beaten, and possibly shot.

  8. Moderator3 says:


  9. Mike F says:

    Yeah, that’s just…strange.

    Full disclosure: I no longer bite my nails. I gave it up for Lent when I was fifteen.

  10. Badgerite says:

    “Nail biters”? WTF. What did we do to her?

  11. Moderator4 says:

    LOL! We shall give this a pass, 2karmanot. ;)

  12. 2karmanot says:

    Nailed It!

  13. 2karmanot says:

    I know. When ever someone says “bite me”, I try to oblige, within reason of course.

  14. 2karmanot says:

    Sorry moderators, she slipped out of the big tent before I could stop her.

  15. Don Chandler says:

    Well, it’s an argument with little traction these days, especially since sodomy is now known to be so prevalent in the heterosexual world. When we were kids, we heard the teacher say, “If I let you do ‘this’, then I’ll have to let everyone do ‘this’.” Ofc, ‘this’ was a form of misbehavior among children. When we grew up, we could misbehave in many naughty ways. Still, there are some very controlling people out there that want to apply the school teacher rhetoric but on our adult level. It’s called ‘nannying’ the public. Fortunately, we can all be a bit more honest and admit to our ‘naughty’ habits and tell the ‘Anitas’ out there to get their long noses out of our business–heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual–all. These nanny’s are perceived as more anti-human these days–they are the minority, most likely belonging to an extreme minority that is paid to spew anti-gay propaganda… like people belonging to FRC or NOM.

  16. 2karmanot says:

    Anita is still going strong juggling her Christian values

  17. White&Blue says:

    What is it that anti-gay-people always use the “give rights to gays and we give license for people to have sex with dogs”? It seems that everybody remembers to mention that.

  18. dcinsider says:

    May she rest in peace. Oh, wait, she’s not dead yet. Damn.

  19. dcinsider says:

    i recently read an article about her son who lives in Chicago and seemed like a very decent guy and is pro-gay rights. He spoke of his parents and lamented that they will be remembered for what they did, which was too bad because they were generally decent people. It’s all about perspective, right?

  20. The_Fixer says:

    Anita cried? I hope so.

    It’s the least she deserves for the things she’s said and done.

    And I still don’t drink Florida orange juice.

  21. HKAnders says:

    If the gays want to get married, fine, let them get married. But I draw the line at nail biters living next door to me. Those people need to go back where they came from, dammit.

  22. UncleBucky says:

    And a pie in the face for every person who claims a right to any discriminatory action by virtue of having “sincere religious beliefs”. Meh.

  23. UncleBucky says:

    Give her a pie in the face for every day she has hurt my family…

  24. caphillprof says:

    Becca, you are giving them way too much credit. It’s more like they just make things up as they go.

  25. caphillprof says:

    The word “think” and the term “Indiana lawmakers” should never appear in the same sentence. The Indiana legislature regularly competes with the Kansas legislature for the title of laughingstock of the nation.

  26. caphillprof says:

    Were any of her children recruited?

  27. olandp says:

    Anita getting pied just never gets old.

  28. Indigo says:

    There was a fun round of radio disk jockeys here in Orlando making fun of Jeb for “disobeying his mother.” They asked for the listeners to chime in and answer the question “When did you last disobey your mother?” Hah! And as it’s beginning to turn out, his mother has a very good reason to want him to not run for presidillident . . . he doesn’t know what’s going on, he’s just guessing.

  29. Hue-Man says:

    Do these gay-haters realize that these proposed laws are an open invitation to implementing Sharia Law? They may try to define the religious beliefs that require protection – cafeteria christianism – but that’s definitely unconstitutional. Then it’s open season for every other religious wingnut to apply her or his want-list. Plus, there’s a lot of TeaParty women who be much less frightening if they wore a burqa!

  30. rmthunter says:

    “People do not elect a president to shrug his shoulders and say “I guess.””

    They did once, and not very long ago. With a little help from the Supreme Court.

  31. rmthunter says:

    By the same token, the way these bills have to be worded to disguise the fact that they’re targeted at gays is going to be the reason they backfire, badly. They’re really vulnerable — wait until Mr. and Mrs. Teabagger are refused service at a restaurant because of someone’s “deeply held religious beliefs.”

    Most of the “what ifs” I see hinge on religion, sex, or race — those are all protected under federal anti-discrimination law. One possible outcome, given the use of heightened scrutiny in some of the marriage cases, is that they may have the effect of making sexual orientation a “suspect class.” It would be helpful, though, if we could get ENDA passed, although that’s not going to happen for a couple of years at least. (I should say, “A couple more years. . . .”)

    Of course, cases on this will take years to work their way through the courts; we can only hope that the Supreme Court is less inclined to grant religious license by then.

  32. AnitaMann says:

    Is she still alive? Hope so, if only for this news.

  33. FLL says:

    There are plenty of fringe white-supremacist religions out there. The entire Christian Identity movement is a variety of believers and churches with a white supremacist theology. The Indiana law is tailor made to accommodate the Christian Identity people. Maybe Indiana lawmakers should think this one through again.

  34. FLL says:

               “I Guess”

    I was really surprised by how confused and feckless Jeb Bush came off when asked to comment on marriage equality in his own state. Take a look at this half-hearted admission of his earlier opposition to marriage equality (from the Miami Herald):

    “The people of the state decided,” Bush told the Herald on Sunday. “But it’s been overturned by the courts, I guess.”

    I guess?! People do not elect a president to shrug his shoulders and say “I guess.” World leaders would smack him down in a minute. If you listen to conservatives, Jeb Bush is the last, best hope to put those uppity liberals in their place. Are the chances of that outcome improving? “I guess” not.

  35. BeccaM says:

    If you noticed, she left them to become a better person. To stay part of the beauty pageant system, she would have had to remain comfortable with being shallow and pretend to be not-Jewish.

    Which to my mind is yet more evidence that the whole thing might as well be renamed Miss Fundamentalist-Conservative America.

    Also, Ms. Meyerson was Miss America back in 1945. It was a whole different world for us women back then. And not in a good way.

  36. percysowner says:

    Well, Bess Meyerson, the first and only Jewish Miss America died yesterday. From her obituary
    Ms. Myerson was one of a select group of American figures to parlay pop
    culture celebrity into positions of influence in the public square. She
    led two New York City agencies, Consumer and Cultural Affairs; advised
    three presidents; championed social causes; and supported powerful
    political careers. She also sought one for herself, entering a
    much-watched primary race for the United States Senate. For a long time
    she seemed rarely out of the news.

    She was shunned as Miss America because sponsors didn’t want a to be represented by a Jewish Miss America. She was barred from various country clubs and hotels during her time as Miss America. Her obituary is here

    Some beauty queens do keep their inner beauty.

  37. BeccaM says:

    Yes, but that’s what it takes to win beauty (sic) pageants: The more vapid and shallow the better. Plus you basically have to start from the position that women are to be valued primarily for their looks and their bodies than actual intelligence or other merits. Regressive attitudes overall are usually part of the complete package.

  38. woodroad34 says:

    Seriously! What is it about beauty queens (Anita Bryant, Sarah Palin, Lauren Ashley (Miss Beverly Hills no less), and Carrie Prejean….did they really just work on the outside stuff and forget that there needs to be inner beauty as well? You’d think there’d be some spiritual inner glow with all their talk of religion; instead you get shrill, plastic, soulless women without an ounce of empathy.

  39. Blogvader says:

    They tried to pull that shit in Missouri, and it took an extremely brave closeted gay Republican coming out of the closet to stop them.

  40. BeccaM says:

    This is great news, but once again I caution against celebrating this is a decisive and final victory. The religious wingnuts are looking to pass state-level laws that’ll let absolutely anybody discriminate against anyone, just by claiming “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

    Indiana is the latest to join in:

    The specific wording of the bill still is being fine-tuned. But a version of the measure says the state’s actions “shall not burden a person’s right to exercise of religion,” unless the government can demonstrate that the burden is “essential to further a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering” that interest.

    The bill doesn’t just limit itself to discriminating against gay and lesbian couples — although that’s clearly the main intent. Basically, they want to make it legal for businesses and individuals to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, and at least some of the bill’s supporters think it’ll allow adoption agencies to discriminate, too.

    If you want to say something like, “In my deeply held beliefs, women should not work outside the home, therefore I will not hire any” — you can. Want to be an abject racist and assert that you don’t think white folks and people of color should work together, so you’ll not hire African Americans or Hispanics? You can do that too. The aforementioned adoption agencies? They could refuse to place children in African American homes. Hell, the way these bills are written, you could even challenge the Americans with Disabilities Act, because none of them specify that your beliefs have to be part of any mainstream religion.

  41. BeccaM says:

    Their understanding of the Constitution is roughly the same as the average fundamentalist Christian’s understanding and knowledge of the Bible.

    Which is to say “selectively chosen, badly interpreted and mostly wrong.”

  42. mark_in_toronto says:

    So . . . the next step will be for the FL religious believers to whine about their “religious freedom.”
    Seems to be the trend even though it has never worked. Sadly, Indiana (my home state) is giving it a go.

  43. paaat says:

    Well, to be honest, I don’t think Republicans really get the Constitution.

  44. just_AC says:

    Hey, I’m not gay but I bite my nails

  45. nicho says:

    I didn’t know that nail biters didn’t have rights. Shit.

  46. Indigo says:

    Republican Florida drew a line in what they had to know was sand and now their line has been washed away by a sober reading of the Constitution of the United States. I can’t fathom why that was such a difficult concept for them. I learned this much from the past six months of posturing and quibble that the Republicans launched against equal human rights in Florida, they are not ready for the White House.

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