1528-1600

In 1528 Spanish explorer Alva Nunez makes the earliest written account of effeminate Indians in Florida who “go about dressed as women and do women’s tasks” – In 1566 Guillermo, a French interpreter in Florida is accused of being a traitor and a great sodomite. He is murdered by the Spaniards. Spanish and French accounts from those days refer to male homosexuals whom they call: amarionados, bardaches, effemines, hermaphrodites and mariones. In the late 1600 Coreal wrote that among the Florida Indians the men were much inclined to sodomy, did women’s work and cross dressed. In 1613 Francisco de Pareja, a Spanish missionary, records “the likelihood of sodomy between native men and of sexual acts between native women.”

1800–1900

After Florida became a territory of the United States in 1821, the Territorial Legislature enacted laws against fornication, adultery, bigamy, and incest, as well as against "open lewdness, or...any notorious act of public indecency, tending to debauch the morals of society." Florida's first specific sodomy law, which was enacted in 1868 and made sodomy a felony, read: "Whoever commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature, either with mankind or with beast, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding twenty years."

1900–1960

The general attitude about homosexuality in Miami mirrored many other cities' across the country. Though gay nightlife in the city had enjoyed the same boisterous existence as other forms of entertainment in the 1930s, by the 1950s, the city government worked to shut down as many gay bars as possible and enacted laws making homosexuality and cross-dressing illegal. From 1956 to 1966, the Johns Committee of the Florida Legislature actively sought to root out homosexuals in state employment and in public universities across the state, publishing the inflammatory "Purple Pamphlet," which portrayed all homosexuals as predators and a dire threat to the children of Florida. In the 1960s The Miami Herald ran several stories implying the life of area homosexuals as synonymous with pimps and child molesters, and the local NBC television station aired a documentary titled "The Homosexual" in 1966 warning viewers that young boys were in danger from predatory men.

1960–2000

In 1971, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the "crime against nature" statute as unconstitutionally vague. The court retained the state's prohibition on sodomy by ruling that anal and oral sex could still be prosecuted under the lesser charge of "lewd and lascivious" conduct.

The public image of homosexuals changed with liberalized social attitudes of the late 1960s. Though gay life in Miami was intensely closeted, and bars were subject to frequent raids, Christ Metropolitan Community Church—a congregation for gay and lesbian Christians in Miami—was founded in 1970 as a religious outlet, attracting hundreds of parishioners. The 1972 Democratic National Convention was held in Miami, featuring, for the first time, a public speech about the rights of gay men and lesbians by openly gay San Francisco political activist Jim Foster. Jack Campbell opened the Miami branch of Club Baths in 1974. When it was raided, he made sure that all charges against those arrested were dropped, filed a lawsuit against the Miami Police Department prohibiting further harassment, and received a formal apology from the police. Even the depiction of gay men and lesbians in the local newspaper had changed to that of a silent, oppressed minority. By 1977, Miami was one of nearly 40 cities in the U.S. that had passed ordinances outlawing discrimination against gay men and lesbians. In 1977, partly due to the anti-gay Save Our Children campaign led by Anita Bryant in Miami, the Florida Legislature passed a law specifically prohibiting homosexuals from adopting children. In 1997, Equality Florida was established, becoming the largest statewide LGBT rights lobby organization.

2000-2014

Same-sex sexual activity remained illegal in Florida until 2003, when the United States Supreme Court struck down all state sodomy laws. The passage of the Florida Amendment 2 in Nov. 4, 2008, by a vote of 61.9 percent in favor and 38.1 percent opposed, banned both same-sex marriage and civil union in the state. Despite that setback, a major victory for LGBT rights occurred on November 25, 2008 when Judge Cindy S. Lederman declared the ban on homosexuals adopting children violated the equal protection rights under the Florida Constitution. In 2009, Miami Beach held its first gay pride parade ever.

2014-2015

On Friday December 19th 2014 the U.S. supreme Court refused to step into Florida's fight over same sex marriage opening the doors for gay and lesbian couples to marry starting Jan. 6, 2015.


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