Deirdre Dibiaggio and Katie Carmichael
When Katie Carmichael and her partner Deirdre DiBiaggio decided to wed in New York last August, the town clerk in tiny Ledyard, NY turned them away, citing her religious beliefs against same-sex marriage. She was messing with the wrong couple. Carmichael, a filmmaker, and DiBiaggio, a lawyer, retained People for the American Way Foundation and the New York City law firm Proskauer Rose to force the clerk to do her job and comply with the Marriage Equality Act. The case drew nationwide attention, highlighting the discrimination still faced by gay and lesbian couples in states that have legalized marriage equality. “I believe that it is our duty and our right to accept nothing less than equality. If we stand together and face those that are bent on denying us our basic human rights we will prevail,” Carmichael states. The couple, who live in Florida, eventually married on April 21, 2012. And their winning streak continues: Carmichael’s new documentary, UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward, which tells the tragic story of a mother who lost custody of her child only because she is a lesbian, won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in May.