Archive for October, 2012

Coming to Sarasota: Our New Domestic Partner Registry

Daniel Rein
Board Member, ACLU of Florida Sarasota Chapter

Despite Florida’s well-earned reputation as a bastion of conservative views regarding social issues, the LGBT community has seen changes reflecting a moderating of that reputation.

An increasing number of counties and municipalities are adopting ordinances recognizing same-sex couples as “family.” These take the form of registration of domestic partnership, usually with a city or county clerk, who then enters the names into a government data base. While these domestic-partner registries do not confer the legal weight of marriage, they generally give the couple certain important rights:

  1. Recognition of their union by the government entity;
  2. Notification of a life-threatening emergency by public authorities;
  3. Visitation rights in hospitals and jails;
  4. Medical and other healthcare decisions for an incapacitated partner
  5. Planning for a funeral/disposition of remains.

The couple must also agree to take care each other financially.

It is important to note that these Domestic-Partner Registries (“DPR”) are also particularly useful for opposite-sex couples who have children or other responsibilities from a previous relationship and who do not want to be married for estate-planning or other reasons.

The first of these DPRs in Florida went into effect in Key West in 1998.

The ACLU Sarasota Chapter, along with Equality Florida and Ken Shelin, a former Sarasota Commissioner, has been in the forefront of pushing for a DPR in our city. And on October 1st, the first reading of our proposed ordinance was passed unanimously by the Sarasota City Commission. The final vote will be today, October 15th, and ACLU supporters in Sarasota are encouraged to attend the meeting. Assuming the same result that we saw on the 1st, the law will go into effect ninety days later.

This is a huge step forward for equality in our city. Next step: watch out, Sarasota County!


Join us at the Pensacola LGBT Film Festival

Baylor Johnson
Online Advocacy Coordinator, ACLU of Florida

We are excited to announce the Pensacola LGBT Film Festival, the first-of-its-kind event in Pensacola. Spanning four days and four different venues, the Pensacola LGBT Film Festival highlights the artistic contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers, both nationally and internationally.

The festival features award-winning films from around the world, as well the regional premiere of Unfit: Ward vs. Ward, a documentary recounting a Pensacola mother’s tumultuous fight to keep her daughter.

In presenting these films, the festival aims to stimulate dialogue in the Pensacola area about the LGBT experience, providing the region with a unique opportunity to experience cinema that transcends stereotypes and expose viewers to new experiences.

By creating this dialogue and celebrating the identities and stories that are often misrepresented or unheard, the Pensacola LGBT Film Festival seeks to create a stronger and more inclusive community. All of the screenings are free, so join us in strenghtning our community at the festival.

The festival is sponsored by the ACLU of Florida along with the University of West Florida, Pensacola Care Center, the UWF Gay-Straight Alliance, the PNS GSA, the Red Ribbon Charitable Foundation, Gay Grassroots of Northwest Florida, Okaloosa AIDS Support & Informational Services, GLAAD, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

We look forward to seeing you at the festival!