Once upon a time...
...before the LGBTQ community became inseparably connected, before the onset of AIDS, and with Stonewall just a few years past, the struggle against discrimination was reaching a fever pitch in sunny South Florida.
Though SAVE was founded in the 1990s, our story begins long before, in 1977, with the rise and fall of a local ordinance that outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. What began as a celebratory moment in the struggle for our freedoms soon turned dark, as a reactionary opposition derisively named Save Our Children sought to prey upon people’s irrational fears of our community. Led by gospel singer and orange juice spokesperson Anita Bryant, the group brought the ordinance to a vote and had it repealed, setting LGBTQ rights in South Florida back decades and fomenting a longstanding hatred of orange juice at gay bars across the country.
Years later, as the forces for and against our rights were again growing more vocal, particularly at the state level through an attempt to ban municipalities from passing local nondiscrimination ordinances, Safeguarding American Values for Everyone was founded in 1993. Its name standing in defiance of past hatred, SAVE would become Florida’s longest-serving LGBTQ civil rights organization. But first, as it became more and more of a fixture in the community, the nascent group’s initial mission became clear: restore the ordinance that had been torn down years before. In the years since, from the hard-fought restoration of the nondiscrimination ordinance to the fight for marriage equality to the addition of our transgender peers to existing protections and beyond, SAVE has stood at the forefront of our struggles.
In this website, we invite you to explore our history, understand our role in the South Florida LGBTQ community, and join us in continuing the fight for equality.