The ACLU Freedom Files On Court TV Shows Why Lesbian and Gay Couples Shouldn’t Be Denied Protections for Their Families

April 7, 2006 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – The ACLU Freedom Files, a revolutionary new 10-part series, tells the stories of everyday Americans whose civil liberties have been threatened, and how they fought back. On April 15, the show illustrates the tragic consequences for lesbian and gay families when they are denied protections. The series debuted on Court TV in February and has already addressed religious freedom and voting rights.

“This episode goes into the homes of real families to show that gay and lesbian couples make the same kinds of commitments that straight couples make,” said Matt Coles, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project. “These stories show the stark difference in how our government treats same-sex couples, who, without the protections that married couples enjoy, are often left in the cold at times when they are at their most vulnerable.”

The show tells the stories of several couples: Alvin and Nigel are raising three foster children. Because adoption law in Maryland says they both can’t adopt at the same time, Alvin currently has no parental rights–and worries that he would lose the children if something were to happen to Nigel. Even though Carol had secured the necessary legal documents, she was denied the right to be with Heather when Heather was being treated for cancer. Earl and Sam shared their lives and ranch for 23 years. When Earl died, Sam lost the home they built together because the state refused to recognize their relationship and claimed Earl’s will was not valid.

Nationwide, local groups are using The ACLU Freedom Files to start discussions, build awareness, and take action. ACLU affiliates and outside groups are hosting viewing parties, talk-backs, and other innovative activities around the programs.

“Freedom Files exists to humanize issues that some in our society would like to demonize,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “The men and women whose stories we tell are, like many of us, concerned parents and loving partners. All of these shows put faces on our national struggles.”

The ACLU and award-winning producer/director Robert Greenwald (Outfoxed, Unconstitutional) teamed up to create The ACLU Freedom Files, a series of 10 half-hour episodes. The series tells personal stories and features well-known actors, comedians, activists, as well as the attorneys who bring these stories before the courts. The episodes are produced and directed by Jeremy Kagan.

In addition to airing on Court TV, The ACLU Freedom Files is also available on satellite television network Link TV on the second Thursday of each month at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT and on college television network Zilo TV. At, past episodes are streamed and viewers can join the Producers Club to take action and get free DVDs.

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