Put a SOC in It

You are not all that.

That’s Bethany Marshall’s explanation of why Anita Bryant got a pie in the puss: envy.

It’s bewildering that a supposed psychoanalyst could make such a bizarre and uninformed statement.

Nancy Grace said about the incident, “She makes me think of my own mother. Why would you do this to a sweet lady whether you agree with her politics or not?”

Here’s what the “sweet lady” said after getting pie in her eye: “Well at least it’s a fruit pie.”

Bryant then broke down in tears.

She apparently shared no tears for the lives she ruined.

Popular for her orange juice commercials and the song “Paper Roses,” Bryant hardly seemed qualified to be a spokesperson for an antigay witch hunt that continues to claim lives. Why did anyone pay any attention to her?

Tony Perkins, who hosts a radio program transmitted “on over 300 stations nationwide” and “frequently appears on national broadcast and cable news programs[,]” is another uninformed media star spreading his hate-filled ignorance across the airwaves.

One example: Perkins “likened a judicial decision regarding a baker’s refusal to make a wedding cake for two gay men to Nazi concentration camps and the boxcars that Germany used to carry prisoners to death camps across Europe.”

Why is Perkins granted any airtime?

The American Family Association is urging people not to purchase the postage stamp honoring slain civil rights hero Harvey Milk.

The AFA notes that a “drag queen” advocated for the stamp and that a notable book on Milk was written by a “homosexual.” The categorization and degradation of supporters and reporters should not minimize the evil that led to Harvey’s murder.

Anita Bryant led the repeal of a gay rights ordinance in Florida’s Dade County. Her frightening rhetoric helped enflame the masses.

Two weeks after the Dade County vote, a young man stabbed his gay victim fifteen times while repeatedly shouting, “Faggot!”1

That same night, another gay male – a sheriff’s deputy – apparently became so devastated over the discovery of his homosexuality that he committed suicide.2

The stabbing suspect, John Cordova, reportedly had drunken sex with another male. Shame over Cordova’s sexuality may have factored in the murder of Robert Hillsborough. The presiding judge at Cordova’s trial deemed the information “too remote” to consider.3

Hillsborough’s mother said, “My son’s blood is on [Anita Bryant’s] hands.”4

Soon after, a flurry of ballot measures repealing gay rights ordinances swept the country.

In Wichita, a spokesperson in favor of the gay rights repeal stated that homosexuality “is a sin so rotten, so low that even dogs and cats do not practice it.”5

In St. Paul, a brochure warned that gays have “infiltrated” local government.6

In Seattle, citizens were warned that the “preservation of Aryan culture and western civilization” was at stake.7

In Oklahoma, following a proposal to ban gay schoolteachers, a newly formed Ku Klux Klan targeted gay bars, where Klan members attacked patrons with baseball bats.8

In California, a similar initiative was introduced by John Briggs, who warned, “Homosexuals want your children.”9

Literature in favor of the Briggs Initiative contained clipped headlines like “Teacher Accused of Sex Acts with Boy Students[.]”10

The Briggs Initiative failed, but the damage was done.

San Francisco supervisor and “family values” advocate Dan White soon resigned, then quickly tried to get his job back.

What happened next took place only a few weeks after the vote on the Briggs Initiative.

Dan White killed Mayor George Moscone and then immediately went after his next target: Harvey Milk.

[White] had special bullets for his next task; the hollow-headed dum-dum bullets that explode on impact, ripping a hole into the victim two to three times the size of the slug itself.11

Moments later, White assassinated Harvey.

At White’s trial, the defense argued that White’s shock at the deterioration of “family values” in San Francisco jolted White into action.12

Several jurors and reporters reportedly wept while listening to White’s taped confession.13

Meanwhile, Harvey’s sexuality was repeatedly referenced.14

Hearing White was convicted only for manslaughter, police officers were overheard rejoicing.15

Activist Cleve Jones said that the verdict “means that in America, it’s all right to kill faggots.”16

Despite recent gay rights victories, inflammatory rhetoric continues to provoke attempts to roll back those achievements as well as provide approval to attack, and even kill, gay people. Some of the reactions to a postage stamp honoring a gay rights pioneer is further evidence of the seething hatred of gays.

Anita Bryant called her largely successful antigay campaign “Save Our Children.” While SOC frightened the nation, Harvey rallied the gay community and their allies. His message of hope inspired – and continues to inspire – others to keep fighting the good fight.

Don’t let leaders of this generation’s SOC movement sully the reputation of a hero. The legacy deserving condemnation isn’t Harvey’s, but theirs.

1 Shilts, Randy. The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. New York: St. Martins, 2008, 163.
2 Ibid., 163.
3 Ibid., 168.
4 Ibid., 164.
5 Ibid., 217.
6 Ibid., 217.
7 Ibid., 217.
8 Ibid., 212.
9 Ibid., 230.
10 Ibid., 239.
11 Ibid., 268.
12 Ibid., 311.
13 Ibid., 313.
14 Ibid., 317.
15 Ibid., 326.
16 Ibid., 325.