Orange Juice vs. Gay Rights

Back in the 70s, an American beauty pageant winner and minor pop-star named Anita Bryant, went on a crusade against gay rights across North America.  In 1977, her campaign coined, “Save Our Children,” led to the repeal of an anti-discrimination ordinance in Dade County, Florida.

Galvanized by her win, she travelled across the U.S. and Canada and was able to roll back human rights gains in a number of other American states in addition to getting legislated a ban on gay adoption in Florida (this ban was only overturned in 2008).  When Anita made a campaign stop in Alberta, Calgary activists hurried to Edmonton, joining activists there, to protest her cross-Canada tour.

Calgarians Against Bryant

The orange juice connection is this.  From 1969 on, she had been the spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Commission.  She was featured nationally in commercials singing and smiling with the well-known tagline “Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine.”

Anita_Bryant_Sucks_Oranges_buttonThe gay community fought back against “Save Our Children.”  They initiated a boycott of orange juice, publicly denounced her initiatives, and in one case threw something at her: she was the first individual ever documented to get publicly “pied.”  Afterwards she quipped, “well, at least it is a fruit pie.”

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 11.17.57 PM

YouTube: Anita gets “pied” by gay activists.

Bryant’s campaign eventually resulted in a high personal cost to herself.  By 1980, she was divorced, the Florida Citrus Commission had let her contract lapse, and her career as an entertainer never recovered.

One response to “Orange Juice vs. Gay Rights

  1. Pingback: 1978: a Windi blowback for Anita Bryant | Calgary Gay History

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