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Day It Snowed in Miami

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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 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.

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