On Sunday, March 24, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Lambda Legal presents its 10th Annual Reception at the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale.
Lambda Legal, a national nonprofit organization, works to secure the civil rights of LGBT individuals and people with HIV. Since 1973, they have pursued litigation, advocated nondiscriminatory public policies and supported educational efforts — all in the name of equality.
For those who may not be familiar with Lambda Legal, consider the following Lambda Legal cases in Florida — past and present.
A high school in Arcadia, Florida prohibited a student, Amber Hatcher, from participating in the National Day of Silence. The case is currently in litigation — Lambda Legal has sued the DeSoto County School Board, stating that the school has infringed upon Hatcher’s First Amendment rights.
In Orlando, a gay male couple was refused the services of a fertility clinic. The fertility clinic case is also still open — Lambda Legal has recorded a complaint with the Orlando Human Rights Board, and acted with the Food and Drug Administration to establish nondiscriminatory policies for fertility clinics.
At Jackson Memorial Hospital, a lesbian was not allowed at the bedside of her dying partner. The case with Jackson Memorial Hospital has been closed. But it continues to have an influential effect on the lives of LGBT families. Jeff Souva, National Events Director for Lambda Legal, refers to it as “Lambda Legal’s highest profile case in Florida during the last ten years.”
In June 2008, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of Janice Langbehn. Jackson Memorial Hospital had prevented Langbehn from visiting her dying partner Lisa Pond. Their adopted children were also refused visitation rights.
Although the lawsuit was dismissed, the case led the way to President Obama’s decision to advocate for new federal regulations about hospital visitation rights related to LGBT families.
In January 2011, the regulations were enacted. In October 2011, Langbehn was honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal.
These cases prove that Lambda Legal does more than provide a voice for the disenfranchised. Each case, each action also builds towards a larger movement of social change.
But as a nonprofit, their work cannot be completed without support.
For ten years, the Fort Lauderdale Reception has benefited Lambda Legal’s efforts.
“The first annual Lambda Legal in Fort Lauderdale event was held at the home of Tony Timiraos and Arthur Crispino,” said Souva. “The event has grown from a small cocktail reception in Tony and Arthur's home to one of Lambda Legal's largest events in the nation.”
According to Souva, each year more than four hundred guests attend the reception with over $300,000 being raised for Lambda Legal.
The Fort Lauderdale Reception features guest speaker Debbie Harris, a Lambda Legal client, and honoree Mark Ketcham, executive director of SunServe, a social service and mental health agency in Wilton Manors.
In 2013, Lambda Legal commemorates its 40th anniversary.
Yet the work of the past ten years—the attainment of hospital visitation rights, the ongoing visibility of the Amber Hatcher case—indicate how much Florida can contribute to this national effort towards equal rights for LGBT individuals and people with HIV.
“We thank the Fort Lauderdale community for ten years of friendship and support,” said Souva.
If you go to the 10th Annual Fort Lauderdale Reception for Lambda Legal:
Sunday, March 24, 2013
5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
900 North Birch Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL
$150 General Admission
Cocktail & hors d’oeuvres reception
For tickets, visit lambdalegal.org