Straight Ally: Howard Simon

You could call Howard Simon a triple threat.


Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida since 1997 and executive director of the ACLU of Michigan for 23 years before that, said he has met LGBT individuals who have benefitted from ACLU lawsuits that won them health benefits, adoption rights and the right to get married.

But the fight for such rights is not always assured. Simon says it took multiple lawsuits over the course of many years to finally win cases that favor LGBT individuals – including the right of students to form gay/straight alliances in schools and the end of the state’s gay adoption ban.

“But the work is not over.” A big focus now is transgender rights. “That and full civil rights protection remain the unfinished business of the civil rights revolution,” said Simon.

Daniel Tilley, ACLU Florida staff attorney, said, “Howard is surely one of the most steadfast straight allies out there. For almost 20 years, he’s steered the ACLU of Florida through a wide range of efforts to promote justice for the LGBT community . . . to promoting bills that advance LGBT equality in the legislature and defeating bills that would permit discrimination against the LGBT community. Our community has a friend in Howard Simon.”

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