Who is Sarah Green? Anti-gay singer Anita Bryant's granddaughter is marrying a woman
Sarah Green said that she once thought Anita Bryant didn't really hate LGBTQIA+ people but changed her opinion
Singer Anita Bryant, at the age of 81, has two legacies. One is songs like ‘Paper Roses’, ‘My Little Corner of the World’, and more. The other is a virulent anti-gay and anti-LGBTQIA-rights crusade that spanned most of her life. Now, in an almost poetic irony, her openly gay granddaughter Sarah Green is marrying a woman.
On October 14, 1977, during a press conference in Des Moines, Iowa, Bryant was attacked by gay rights activist Tom Higgins, who threw a pie in her face. Several decades later, her granddaughter’s marriage plans seem to be the second pie to hit her face.
Who is Sarah Green?
On ‘One Year’, Slate’s new history podcast covers the year 1977 — “a year when gay rights hung in the balance, Roots dominated the airwaves, and Jesus appeared on a tortilla.” Green talked about her relationship with her grandmother with host Josh Levin on the very first episode of the podcast.
As per PBS, in January of 1977, the Dade County Commission passed a gay-rights ordinance, making Miami the fortieth US city with such a law. The vote alarmed Bryant, who began a campaign to repeal the ordinance. Within six weeks, Bryant gathered the signatures necessary to put the issue to Dade County voters. Bryant also formed an organization called Save Our Children, Inc., and based the campaign on the idea that "homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit."
In June of 1977, the gay rights ordinance was repealed — which reportedly led to a wave of repeals and gay-rights defeats in other states. The city-county government restored the ordinance decades later in 1998 and added gender identity to it in 2014.
Toward the end of the episode, Green spoke about her relationship with Bryant, who she claimed was a doting grandmother. Green said that she once thought Bryant didn't really hate LGBTQIA+ people but changed her opinion when she realized as a teen that she herself was gay. She said that she had no intention of coming out to Bryant, but something snapped on her 21st birthday.
Bryant supposedly sang Happy Birthday to her granddaughter on the phone and told her that if she had faith, the right man would come along. “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’,” Green recalled.
Bryant, Green claimed, then responded to this by telling her that homosexuality is a delusion invented by the devil and that she should focus on loving God because that would supposedly make her realize she was straight. “It’s very hard to argue with someone who thinks that an integral part of your identity is just an evil delusion,” Green said.
Green also said that she is now planning her wedding and is debating whether to invite Bryant. She said that she and her fiancee have discussed it extensively. “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,” Green said. “I don’t know if she would be offended if I didn’t invite her.”
As per Robert Green Jr, Sarah Green’s father and Bryant’s son, the anti-gay crusader knows that Green is engaged to a woman. He said on the podcast that when he told his mother, “All at once, her eyes widened, her smile opened, and out came the oddest sound: ‘Oh’. 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.”
Green, however, added that she did not hate Bryant — she feels sorry for her. “I just kind of feel bad for her,” she said. “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.”