In 1977, singer Anita Bryant began spearheading the “Save Our Children” campaign, which aimed to repeal a Dade County, Florida, ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The campaign was successful, and was heartily condemned by members of the gay community and their allies.
On August 19, 1977, Bryant attended the Miss National Teenager Pageant, which was held in Atlanta. Bryant was invited to attend as she had been voted “America’s Great American” by the contestants. Protesters took to the streets in opposition.
Bryant Returns to Atlanta
Bryant returned to Atlanta in June of 1978, to serve as keynote speaker at the Southern Baptist Convention. Almost 2,000 protesters – members of the LGBT+ communities as well as allies – picketed at the Georgia World Congress Center.
"One of the unique things about march is that there were a number of straight people walking with us, and I think of a lot of them, it was the first time that they had in fact stood by us. And some of them spoke out at the rally."
Anne Fauvre, From Stonewall to the Millenium Panel, June 2000
"Thank God for Anita Bryant, because she really brought things to a head through her hate and intolerance. When she started her campaign, it really brought it into the media. People started really paying attention."
Andrew Wood, June 24, 2014