When singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant was fighting to keep intact discrimination laws against gays and lesbians in Miami, these two Key West guys were just kids.
“I was born in 1970,” Aaron Huntsman said. “I was living in Las Vegas. I do remember her, especially from the orange juice commercials. It made national news. My grandparents were like, ‘We’re not going to drink Florida orange juice, too.’ ”
Huntsman grew up to defy the likes of Bryant when it comes to equal rights.
Bryant is the namesake of a new book that documents how two bartenders made political history by simply refusing to take no for an answer when they applied for a marriage license in Monroe County.
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“Ending Anita,” written by Anthony Adams for Aaron Huntsman and Lee Jones, was published this month and is sale on Amazon. It puts a bookend on South Florida’s LGBTQ history by referring to the 1977 anti-gay crusade that Bryant led on behalf of a group called Save Our Children.
Adams will interview Huntsman and Jones at a book launch party set for 6 p.m.Thursday at the Sidebar at Aqua Bar, 504 Angela St.
Just after midnight Jan. 6, 2015, Huntsman and Jones donned tuxedos and traded wedding vows on the steps of the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West, having in 2014 won the first Florida court ruling that declared the state’s 2008 same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
The couple, who met at Key West Pride in 2003, told their story to Adams, who says he will donate all profits to two Key West nonprofits: The LoveIsLove Fund, which supports marriage equality, and the Sacred Cloth Project, which sends activists across the world with a section of the 1.25-mile-long Sea to Sea Rainbow Flag unveiled in 2003 across Duval Street.
“We were never in it for the money,” Huntsman said, recalling missing work and traveling as part of the legal battle and after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land. “We figured we lost probably about $70,000. It was about doing the right thing.”
“Ending Anita” also includes profiles of others who fought alongside the Key West couple and has a few moments of levity, including one from Huntsman’s Vegas childhood.
“Once, Liberace’s limousine nearly ran me over,” Huntsman said. “That’s in the book.”
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen