September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Brandon Hensler, Director of Communications, (786) 363-2737 or

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida's Adoption Ban is the only law in the country that categorically prohibits gay men and lesbians from adopting children. This discriminatory law hurts thousands of children who are languishing in Florida's foster care system by denying them a forever home.

During the week of September 28 – October 2, the ACLU of Florida and partner organizations will be hosting a series of events to bring awareness of the ban to Gainesville citizens and Gators. All events are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, 9/28 at the Hippodrome: Screening of In Anita’s Wake, a new documentary about Anita Bryant’s anti-gay tirade, including Q & A with the film’s director and ACLU plaintiff Martin Gill. 
Wednesday, 9/29 at UF Law School: Challenging Florida's Adoption Ban: a panel discussion with ACLU LGBT rights attorney Shelbi Day and UF law professor Joseph Jackson.
Saturday, 10/2 at Pride Community Center: Speaker’s training for adults and children on how to talk about the ban, featuring Daryl Hannah from GLAAD.

The ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project and national ACLU LGBT Project sued the state in 2006 on behalf of a North Miami man and two brothers who he had been fostering at the state’s request for four years. Gill’s is the only stable home the children have ever known. In a landmark November 2008 decision, a Miami circuit judge ruled that the two boys, now ages five and nine, can remain with the adoptive father, who is gay. The state appealed to the Third District Court of Appeals, where a decision is imminent any Wednesday.

To support the lawsuit, the ACLU of Florida is collaborating with local and national organizations on a public education campaign to raise awareness about the adoption ban and provide resources to individuals who would like to become advocates working to overturn the ban.

Everyone in the Gainesville area is invited to take a stand against Florida's ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians. The week of free events will empower participants with the information and skills necessary to change the hearts and minds of friends, neighbors and communities.

Following are details about the free and family-friendly events: 

Tuesday September 28, 2010 from 7pm-8:40pm: Hippodrome Theatre – film screening of “In Anita's Wake: The Irrational War on Florida's Gay Families.” The just-released film looks at the history of the adoption ban in Florida and its current day ramifications. The film includes interviews with gay and lesbian families who want to adopt, legislative leaders and what’s being done to overturn the ban. Following the film, there will be a question and answer session featuring Martin Gill, the foster parent who is challenging the law; Shelbi Day, ACLU-FL LGBT rights attorney; and Vicki Nantz, filmmaker. 
Wednesday September 29, 2010 from 12pm-1pm: Levin College of Law, Room 345 – Challenging Florida's Adoption Ban: a panel discussion about Florida's law that categorically prohibits gay men and lesbians from adopting. The panel will feature: Martin Gill, the foster parent who is challenging the law; ACLU-FL LGBT rights attorney Shelbi Day; Prof. Joseph Jackson, co-author of an amicus brief filed in the appeal; and Dr. Lauren Fasig, an expert in child development. 
Saturday October 2, 2010 from 10am-2pm: Pride Community Center – adult training and children/youth programming – Participants will be equipped with the skills and training necessary to take a stand against Florida's adoption ban and support policies and practices that uphold the best interests of children and families. In addition to the adult programming, Family Equality Council will provide programming for children ages 3 to 8 and youth ages 9 to 13, which focuses on increasing self-esteem, developing leadership skills and celebrating all loving families. A light lunch will be provided at both sessions.

All events are being planned in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Family Equality Council and Equality Florida; and in collaboration with: Securing Our Children’s Rights (SOCR), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Florida Together, ACLU of Florida North Central Chapter, Pride Community Center of North Central Florida, Levin College of Law Center on Children and Families, UF Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research, and OUTLaw

About the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project
The ACLU of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information, visit our web site at:

The ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project has worked since 2005 to protect the legal rights of Florida’s LGBT community and is the leading organization protecting gay kids from discrimination and harassment. For additional information, visit our web site at:

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2010 Press Releases