The Day It Snowed in Miami

About This Episode


A chronology of the LGBT-rights movement in Florida's Miami-Dade County, The Day It Snowed in Miami focuses on when gay rights activists and conservative singer Anita Bryant fought over the passage of the human rights ordinance, which prevented discrimination based on sexual orientation. The documentary shows how it galvanized the gay rights movement in Florida and beyond.

Thirty five years ago, lawmakers debated an issue that would ignite a political maelstrom. The seemingly benign ordinance - 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 January 18, 1977, conservatives led by Anita Bryant packed downtown commission chambers in protest. They passed the ordinance by a narrow 5-3 margin, but Bryant vowed to lead a repeal - and succeeded.

This 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 Day It Snowed in Miami also chronicles the tragic effects of the AIDS pandemic in South Florida, and the ironic, compassionate turn in public opinion towards the gay community.