UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward

DIRECTORS: Katie Carmichael, Penny Edmiston, Edwin Scharlau III

Expected guests: directors Katie Carmichael and Edwin Scharlau

Who’s the better parent: a convicted murderer or a lesbian? A question that seems absurd to most of us was grist for a contentious and nightmarish custody battle that played out in Florida state courts in the mid-1990s.

UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward tells the heartbreaking and astonishing story of devoted mother and out lesbian Mary Ward, who found herself fighting John Ward, her convicted murderer ex-husband, for custody of their 11-year-old daughter, Cassey. The story of Mary’s struggle to prevent deadbeat dad John—who served eight years for murdering his first wife and had shown little or no interest in his daughter before Mary petitioned for an increase in child support payments—from gaining custody of Cassey is told through interviews with family, friends and attorneys (including Kate Kendall, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and one of Mary Ward’s appellate attorneys). Although we like to think that lesbian and gay parents fair better today, Mary’s story serves as a reminder of what can happen when one judge decides that a child “should be given the opportunity and the option to live in a non-lesbian world.”

— KATE CARROLL

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D233

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