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Gay-rights documentary to air on WUCF TV

Posted by Jennifer Cook on

A documentary that showcases Florida's role in the gay rights movement will air on WUCF TV on Sunday, June 22.

THE DAY IT SNOWED IN MIAMI traces the political activism behind an equal-rights statute in Miami, and how it galvanized the gay rights movement in Florida and beyond.

Thirty five years ago, as snowflakes prepared to dust palm trees in a city known for its warmth, Miami-Dade County lawmakers unknowingly debated an issue that would ignite a political maelstrom. The seemingly benign ordinance — essentially 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 Jan. 18, 1977, a throng of conservatives led by singer and Florida Orange Juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant packed downtown commission chambers in protest. The commissioners ultimately passed the ordinance by a narrow 5-3 margin, but Bryant vowed to lead a repeal — and succeeded. The 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 passage and subsequent revocation by voters of that ordinance sparked a national movement that brought the topic of gays and lesbians into American households. Some called it a national wake-up call for gay rights activists.

In the month of June alone, the documentary will broadcast on about 64 percent of the top 25 PBS markets stretching from the East Coast to the West Coast and reaching an estimated 69 million households.

The 90-minute documentary also chronicles the tragic effects of the AIDS pandemic in South Florida, and the ironic, compassionate turn in public opinion towards the gay community.

THE DAY IT SNOWED IN MIAMI will air on WUCF TVSunday, June 22 at 11:30 p.m.

Watch the trailer: