(FLORIDA) The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida yesterday announced that Cynthia Nixon, "Sex and the City" star and LGBT rights advocate, will join the ACLU on Saturday, January 9 to kick off a three-year campaign to end a Florida ban which prohibits gays and lesbians from adopting.
U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Senator Nan Rich, Florida Representative Mary Brandenburg, along with Martin Gill, ACLU plaintiff and father of two foster children for the past five years, will be among the other featured guests at the event.
Florida's adoption ban is the only one of its kind in the country, being that it categorically denies the right to adopt to gays and lesbians. Many believe this discriminatory law only serves to hurt thousands of children who are languishing in Florida's foster care system by denying them a permanent home.
The ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project and national ACLU LGBT Project sued the state on behalf of Gill, a North Miami resident, and the two brothers who he had been fostering at the state’s request for four years – the only stable home the children have ever known.
In a landmark November 2008 decision, a Miami judge ruled that the two boys, now ages five and nine, could remain with the adoptive father, who is gay. The State then appealed to the Third District Court of Appeals, where the case has been argued. The ACLU is currently awaiting the court’s opinion.
In July 2009, The Tides Foundation’s State Equality Fund awarded a $240,000 grant to the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Florida’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Advocacy Project to fund a three-year public education and outreach campaign.
In addition, the John C. Graves Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation of Broward has provided a quarter of a million dollars to support the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT rights work since 2005, including the initial grant that seeded the LGBT Advocacy Project. Other significant support has come from The GLBT Community Projects Fund at Dade Community Foundation, and the Scott Opler Foundation. The ACLU’s Campaign to End Florida’s Adoption Ban is designed to support the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the adoption ban by educating Floridians about the adoption ban and the negative impact it has on Florida’s children and families.
The statewide trainings will coach people on how to talk about the adoption ban with friends, family, colleagues, and small groups of people. The trainings are conducted by the ACLU of Florida, GLAAD, and Family Equality Council and will be offered in cities throughout Florida over the next three years.
The upcoming event on January 9 will kick off this very important campaign and bring visibility to the issue.