Showings for UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward

October 19th, 2012 @ 12:00pm — Theatre 10
October 21st, 2012 @ 12:00pm — Theatre 11
UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward
Directed by:  Edwin Scharlau
Who is more fit to raise a child: a convicted killer or a lesbian? According to one judge in Florida, the convicted killer.  UNFIT: Ward vs Ward follows the true story of Mary Ward who lost custody of her eleven year old daughter because she was a lesbian.  The judge decided that the father was a more fit parent even though he had served nine years for murdering his first wife, did not know what grade his daughter was in or what school she attended, and had only spent four consecutive days with his daughter in the previous five years.  No one could have imagined the firestorm that would ensue and the tragic consequences the judge’s decision would have on the lives of everyone involved.
In 1995, Mary Ward filed for an increase in child support from her ex-husband.  She was awarded the increase but never expected the firestorm that would ensue.  Her ex-husband in turn filed for a complete modification in custody.  Everyone thought this was a stunt by the father to avoid paying child support.  Why would the state modify custody when Mary appeared to be a devoted mother?  Her children were the center of her universe and she would do anything for them.  And in the six years since their separation, the father had by all accounts been an absent parent.  He didn’t know what grade his daughter was in, didn’t know what school she attended, didn’t know anything about her ADHD, and the most time he had ever spent with her was three consecutive days on a trip. Mostly he just saw her every other weekend for one day.  He was uneducated, lived in a trailer down a windy dirt country road, had a history of a bad temper, and had allegedly molested his first daughter from another marriage. And as if that wasn’t enough, he had murdered his first wife.  Yet after a two hour hearing in Pensacola in August of 1995, Judge Tarbuck ruled that custody should be transferred to the father.  Why?  Mary Ward was a lesbian.