Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A bit more on Bryant

Stonewall Library has a nicely laid-out series on the history of her antigay career.

If you're still wondering why/how a woman becomes frontsipiece for an anti-gay rights crusade, the key is here:

In 1977, Anita Bryant was perhaps best known as the spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission as well as First Federal Savings and Loan Association, Singer Sewing Machines, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Holiday Inn and Tupperware. She was 37, married to Miami DJ Bob Green, mother of four, a former beauty queen and singer, known in the 1960s for her wholesome image. For three consecutive years she won the “Most Admired Woman in America” poll in Good Housekeeping magazine.

She appeared with evangelist Billy Graham in 1963 to call college students back to God, and organized a “Youth for Decency” rally at the Orange Bowl to protest sexual explicitness in entertainment. In her campaign against the gay rights amendment, Bryant told audiences that her twins, who had been born prematurely and almost died “were saved by the grace of God” and that she would not let them be exposed, as a result of the Metro Commission’s antidiscrimination law, to homosexuals.


Bryant wrote to the Dade County Commission that passing the ordinance would mean “infringing upon my rights as a citizen and mother to teach my children and set examples of God’s moral code as stated in the Holy Scriptures.”

Eventually, inevitably,

Anita Bryant’s antigay crusade, as the name of the organization she headed indicated, focused on children. She presented herself to voters as a concerned mother.

Seizing on the fact that Miami’s antidiscrimination ordinance would affect hiring in the schools, her rhetoric revolved around the argument that gay people habitually prey on young children and endeavor to convert them to homosexuality.

A poll conducted early in the campaign by Mike Thompson, an advertising executive and Save Our Children leader, showed that female voters in Dade County overwhelmingly supported the gay rights ordinance. Thompson thought this support was based on women’s experience with their “hairdressers, dress designers and dog groomers.” To change mothers’ minds, Save our Children presented gays as a danger to children.

Whenever she spoke, Bryant warned audience, “Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit.

...Bryant’s Christian emphasis did not stop her from aggressively pursuing Miami’s substantial and generally liberal Jewish vote. A preliminary poll showed Jews favoring the ordinance by a large margin, so a coalition of antigay Orthodox rabbis was assembled. They condemned the measure: “Jewish law prohibits parents from allowing their children to be taught by people who are sexually perverted… What right is there to corrupt our children...”

The children, the children, the children. Plus ça change.

California's Prop 8 Push: "Save Our Children!"

...They were yelling, all of them, even the little kiddies, "Save Our Children! Save Our Children!" It's a curious slogan. How, exactly, is banning same-sex marriage "restoring marriage and protecting California children?" It isn't like Measure OO, a city initiative that would boost funding for youth development, dedicating a chunk of the city's budget to after-school and other programs for kids. In fact there's no money at all in the initiative that would save our children, the gay or the straight ones. And it does nothing to restore anything, or protect anything, it's not really "pro" anything.

And how, exactly, is banning people of the same sex from the benefits of marriage keeping government out? Is the government demanding women marry women or men marry men? According to one TV ad it sorta is. In the spot, a young girl comes home from school and tells her mom proudly, "I can marry a princess!" Have mercy, what parent doesn't want their kid to marry into royalty?...

But you see, in the Kinder Küche Kirche worldview, the real horror here is that the hand that was supposed to rock the cradle has been slapped down. Power, you see. Even under the Rule Of The Fathers: -Mom-, while not at the top of the heap, can actually have a fair chunk, or at least the fascimile thereof, if she's correctly situated, of course. Bryant's appeal, like Palin's after her, taps into classic fascist rhetoric: Mama Bear, finally stirred to action by the evil of the world, rises in righteous rage to protect her home and hearth. And, of course, The Children. Not just her -own- children, mind you, but -yours- (assuming you are one of the Ones That Matter).

And, well, if you don't want to call it "power," your guaranteed material well-being as well as a -lot- of ego-stroking -and- oversight of the little darlings all day, particularly if you're homeschooling, well--shit, who wouldn't defend that? Not to mention you can now go all the way to the White House, with the Fathers' blessings, assuming you play by all the rest of the rules. What's -not- to like?

1 comment:

Elisson said...

I'm always fascinated by the Bible-thumpers who use Holy Writ as justification for their anti-gay views. I call it Chinese-Menu Religion: Choose one from Column A and one from Column B.

The same text that calls sex between men an abomination (it says nothing, BTW, about sex between women) also uses the same language to prohibit the eating of pork. Are these Holier-than-Thou types giving up their barbecued spare ribs?