The granddaughter of anti-LGBT+ crusader Anita Bryant, who described gay people as “human garbage”, is marrying another woman.
Bryant, 81, is a former celebrity singer and orange juice spokesperson, who in the 1970s turned her attention to anti-gay activism, ending her career in the entertainment industry.
She doggedly opposed an ordinance against discrimination based on sexual orientation in Dade County, Florida, and eventually succeeded in repealing it.
Her granddaughter has now spoken out about her struggle over whether to invite her grandmother to her same-sex wedding.
Speaking on Slate’s podcast One Year, Sarah Green said she came out to her grandmother on her 21st birthday.
Bryant reportedly told her granddaughter she hoped she would soon find a husband, which led Green to respond: “I hope that he doesn’t come along because I’m gay, and I don’t want a man to come along.”
Green said her grandmother told her that she just had to strengthen her faith in God, which would remind her that she was actually straight.
She added: “It’s very hard to argue with someone who thinks that an integral part of your identity is just an evil delusion.
“She wants a relationship with a person who doesn’t exist because I’m not the person she wants me to be.”
Green has been agonising over whether to invite Bryant to her upcoming wedding.
“I think I probably will eventually just call her and ask if she even wants an invitation, because I genuinely do not know how she would respond,” she said.
“I don’t know if she would be offended if I didn’t invite her.”
“I just kind of feel bad for her. And I think as much as she hopes that I will figure things out and come back to God, I kind of hope that she’ll figure things out.”
An activist carries a placard which reads “Anita: Gay Blood Is Upon You! Who’s Next?” during the fifth Gay Freedom Day in San Francisco in 1977. (Getty/ Archive Photos)
Anita Bryant said gay rights ‘corrupt children’
In 1977, when Florida’s Dade County Commission approved a law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, then-singer Anita Bryant swiftly put together a coalition to oppose it named “Save Our Children”.
The campaign, which was ultimately successful, took out full-page newspaper ads which displayed headlines about teachers sexually abusing students and children in prostitution rings, and asked: “Are all homosexuals nice?… There is no ‘human right’ to corrupt our children.”
Bryant said during her campaign that gay people were “human garbage”, and added on another occasion: “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.”
The non-discrimination ordinance in Dade County was not reinstated until 1998, 22 years after Bryant’s homophobic campaign.