Is There a Same-Sex Wedding Invite in Infamous Homophobe Anita Bryant's Future?

Tuesday July 27, 2021

Anita Bryant in the 1970s.
Anita Bryant in the 1970s.  

In the 1970s, former Miss America contestant and singer Anita Bryant spearheaded a virulent anti-gay crusade that cost her dearly.

The former Miss Oklahoma targeted the gay liberation movement in 1977 after Florida's Dade County passed an anti-discrimination ordinance by leading the campaign for its repeal. It brought her national headlines with her "Save Our Children" campaign. At the time she said, "As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children" and "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."

Her repeal campaign worked, but Bryant lost her lucrative spokesperson position with the Florida Citrus Commission when the LGBTQ community and their allies organized an orange juice boycott.

So there's likely some irony to the news this week that Bryant's granddaughter, Sarah Green, announced she is marrying another woman. Is Bryant wondering just who recruited her?

Green spoke of her impending marriage on Slate's "One Year" podcast, where she discussed whether or not she is planning on inviting Bryant to the 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. I don't know if she would be offended if I didn't invite her," Green said in the episode, according to Insider.

Also on the podcast was Bryant's son, Robert Green, who said his mother's "face froze" when she learned of the engagement.
"All at once, her eyes widened, her smile opened, and out came the oddest sound: 'Oh,'" Robert recalled. "Instead of taking Sarah as she is, my mom has chosen to pray that Sarah will eventually conform to my mom's idea of what God wants Sarah to be."

Sarah told Bryant she was gay years before, on her 21st birthday, to which her grandmother responded by telling her that there would soon be a man in her life. "And I just snapped and was like, 'I hope that he doesn't come along because I'm gay, and I don't want a man to come along," Sarah recounted, with Insider noting, "That's when Green said her grandmother told her homosexuality doesn't exist."

"It's very hard to argue with someone who thinks that an integral part of your identity is just an evil delusion," Sarah said. "She wants a relationship with a person who doesn't exist because I'm not the person she wants me to be."

But Sarah said she doesn't hate her grandmother for her anti-gay views. "I just kind of feel bad for her," she explained. "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."