Stop Discriminating Against Families
  • Petitioned Museum Director

This petition was delivered to:

Museum Director

Stop Discriminating Against Families

    1. Mary Kimrey
    2. Petition by

      Mary Kimrey

      Burlington, NC

This museum expects same-sex couples, grandparents, and other types of non-traditional families to pay more for family memberships. According to the business, they do not recognize same sex couples, even if married, and their children as families.

Recent signatures


    1. Museum Supporters Report Museum Did Not Want Anyone Arrested

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      The museum supporters, who claim no official affiliation with the museum, report:

      "...someone at the museum, maybe the director, said they didn't want anyone to be arrested."

      That, indeed, is a beautiful thing. It was fully within the museum's rights to contact the police to communicate the message that the children were not welcome, the police very nicely communicated that information to the contact name they were given, and I have communicated the museum's wishes to everyone I can possibly think of. I am happy to hear the museum communicated to its supporters that they had no intention of having children arrested. I once again strongly urge all members of the boycott to respect the rights of the museum as communicated by law enforcement, that any future demonstrators, including children, remain on the sidewalk and that no further attempts to deliver this petition outside of electronic means be made.

    2. Reached 3,000 signatures
    3. Children Not Welcome at Children's Museum

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      Children attempted to deliver a copy of this petition to The Hands On Children's Museum. The children were not allowed inside and were told they were trespassing. They politely handed the petition to a lady outside, said thank you, and turned around, respecting the museum's rights to turn them away. The museum called the police on the children, but no arrests were made. The friendly Jacksonville police officer made it clear that no other demonstrators, including children, were to attempt to set foot on museum property.

      Hands on Childrens Museum Demonstration Video

      Uploaded by dgsgmom on 2013-06-23.

    4. Museum in Olympia Washington Welcomes All Families

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      A message from the director of Hands On Children's Museum in Olympia, WA:
      Letter from the Director
      In light of recent news, we wanted to clarify that our Hands On Children’s Museum is located in Olympia, Washington and is separate and independent of the Hands On Children’s Museum in Jacksonville, Florida.

      Our facility and programs welcome all families and our membership packages support foster families, grandparents, single parent households, and two-adult households of any type.

      Please explore this website to learn more about us and our programs.

      --Patty Belmonte, Executive Director

      I think a great idea to show support to *this* museum is for those who are able to send them a $10 donation in honor of an "unnamed" person discriminated against by the museum in Jacksonville. If you are not able, perhaps you could write a thank you letter, or have your kids draw a rainbow and mail it to them.

      A very special thank you to Chris for this information.

      Hands On Children's Museum

      The Hands On Children's Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups.

    5. Join Demonstration in Jacksonville to Support All Families

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      On Saturday, June 22nd, from 1-3 pm, we will be holding a peaceful demonstration, lining the sidewalks of Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville, FL, where the Hands On Children's Museum is located. We will be showing our love and support for all families. We will use the area in front of Bomba's for any media interviews with our supporters.

      This will be a family-friendly event, and children will be delivering our petition to the museum at the event conclusion.

      We call on local advocacy groups and the media to join us in our show of support. We are already glad to have the support of Florida National Organization for Women.

      For more information, visit:

    6. Supporters of Museum Post Statement

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      The statement, and my personal response, can be found by clicking on this link or visiting the Boycott The Hands On Children's Museum Jacksonville Facebook Page

    7. Zack Ford of Think Progress Reacts to Museum's Request for Apology

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      "Harassment through actions like threatening phone calls is deplorable, and it’s unfortunate that some have targeted the museum in this way. Nevertheless, it has not taken responsibility for its discriminatory actions and must face the public reaction to this insult to the gay community."

      Thank you, Zack Ford. I could not agree with you more.

      Children's Museum That Discriminated Against Gay Couple Demands Apology For Backlash

      The Hands On Children's Museum in Jacksonville, Florida is continuing to claim that it does not discriminate against same-sex families, and is now complaining about the backlash it has received on the internet for doing just that. This past weekend, a same-sex couple reported that the museum tried to charge them an extra $10 for [...]

    8. While the World Watches, Museum Blames Internet

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      The museum put out this "news release" today through News4Jax:

      Thank you to Adrienne Moore at News4Jax for continuing to cover this story.

    9. Museum Wants An Apology

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      But, things may be moving in the right direction:
      "The Hands on Children's Museum does not discriminate against gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. We have and will remain welcoming and inclusive."

      While in the article, the museum states their family memberships are for a mom and dad, the language on the website has not changed from 1 adult and a "named" or "unnamed" person. The $10 increase in price from last week to this week for families still remains.

      Keep spreading the love that brings us together. Never apologize for standing up to discrimination.

      Jacksonville's Hands On Children's Museum denies discrimination against renewing same-sex couple's family membership

      JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Second class citizens. That's how a same-sex couple feels after they say they were denied a family membership renewal at the Hands On Children's Museum. Karen Lee-Duffell has 4-year-old and 13-month-old daughters with her partner of 12 years.

    10. Patti Told a Story

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      Patti Peeples Gustafson told a story to a group of young people. The story was about a family who wanted to renew a museum membership. The young people, some of them patrons of the museum from the age of three, have something to say about that:

      "We think of the Hands On Children’s Museum as a place where children and families can be happy, enjoy themselves, and where people of all types can learn and share their knowledge. It disappoints us that you would not let a lesbian couple be a part of this. Please think about what you are doing from their perspective. How would you feel?

      We hope that you change your policy for lesbians and for all gay people. Hands On Children’s Museum can be a role model but by your actions, you have disappointed us greatly. We look forward to you changing your policy."

      There are many stories to be told. Which one will you tell today?

      Thank you, Patti, for telling a story and helping to change the world.

    11. Reached 2,500 signatures
    12. One Small Thing

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      Today, we saw our story get picked up by various media outlets including MSN. We saw pieces by Ruth McCambridge at Nonprofit Quarterly, Medha Chandorkar at PolicyMic, Hannah Moch with GLAAD, Sunnivie Brydum at SheWired, and Joey Kennedy at, just to name a few. We saw a press release issued by Florida National Organization for Women. We have heard many stories from families all over the world. One of our new friends who has faced discrimination himself asked tonight, "When will it stop?"

      I will go with some words I sent out last Friday, when we were just a small group of friends wanting to show support to one family and stand up against injustice. "History happens with one small thing. So come on, do one small thing and be a part of the change we need to make sure no one else has to leave a business in tears because she and her children have been told their family is not a family."

      I am in complete awe of how much love there is on this planet. History will happen.

    13. The New Civil Rights Movement Reacts to Museum Raising Prices

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      David Badash: "It’s kind of the Hands on Children’s Museum’s way of saying, “OK, you win, but now everyone will have to pay for it.”

      Equality. At a price."

      Thank you, David Badash.

      Anti-Gay Kids Museum Responds To Discrimination Charges - By Raising Prices

      The Jacksonville, Florida Hands on Children's Museum came under scrutiny on Friday after a lesbian mother was told she and her partner would have to pay extra to renew their three-year old family membership because they weren't a real family. Karen Lee-Duffell said it felt "like a punch in the gut."

    14. We Made 1000 New Friends Today!

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      Our story has been picked up by The New Civil Rights Movement, Think Progress, The Huffington Post, and Salon as well as shared on many Facebook pages including The Christian Left.

      Hands On Children's Museum of Jacksonville decided to raise prices by $10 across the board on Monday afternoon. No official statement was made by the museum, although there are quite a few interesting posts over on our Facebook page. We feel the museum should allow two moms or dads to be accepted as parents, not a mom or dad and an "extra person" and that raising prices on everyone to avoid acknowledging families as families is wrong.

      There are are no words sufficient to describe the overwhelming feeling of love that comes from reading the comments on this petition. If anyone doubts that ordinary people can make a difference, just take a minute and scroll through a few.

      One small thing.

    15. Reached 2,000 signatures
    16. And Now We Are Thousands.

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks to Zack Ford of Think Progress.

      "ZACK FORD is the editor of ThinkProgress LGBT at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, hailing from the small town of Newport, PA. Prior to joining ThinkProgress, Zack blogged for two years at with occasional cross-posts at Pam’s House Blend. He also co-hosts a popular LGBT-issues podcast called Queer and Queerer with activist and performance artist Peterson Toscano. A graduate of Ithaca College (B.M. Music Education) and Iowa State University (M.Ed. Higher Education), Zack is an accomplished pianist with a passion for social justice education. Follow him on Twitter at @ZackFord."

      Florida Children's Museum Discriminates Against Same-Sex Family

      The Hands On Children's Museum in Jacksonville, Florida is oddly specific about who it lets obtain a "family membership," specifying that a family must include one mom and one dad. Karen Lee-Duffell's family has had a membership there for three years, but when an employee noticed she had a same-sex partner, she was told she'd [...]

    17. Reached 1,000 signatures
    18. Family's Story Appears Nationwide

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      USA Today has picked up the story and it has been syndicated to major markets all over the country through Gannett.

      Museum accused of discriminating against gay families

      A Jacksonville, Florida mother claims a local children's museum discriminates against same sex parents. Karen Lee-Duffell says she and her partner were denied the regular family membership rate. The museum says it's not because they're lesbians.

    19. "Like a punch in the gut," to This Jacksonville Mother

      Mary Kimrey
      Petition Organizer

      Karen Lee-Duffell tells First Coast News, "They were telling us we weren't really a family."

      Couple upset over museum membership policy; say it excludes same-sex families

      JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A same-sex couple who tried to renew its family membership at a local museum said they are being treated differently for being a family of two moms. The Hands on Children's Museum of Jacksonville is not denying the women a membership, but the couple is upset they have to pay more than a family that would include a mom and a dad.

    20. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Danial Smith JACKSONVILLE, FL
      • 5 months ago

      I support this because that is fucking rude.

    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 7 months ago

      It is conspicuous that lesbian and homosexual couples worldwide were brutally persecuted, often tortured, raped and killed, incarcerated, although they are live much happier together as heterosexual couples. Threaten these happy people worldwide men with their violence against women in heterosexual couples? This is precisely the fact. Homosexual men reject sexual violence against women and are often good friends of women. Lesbian women live together in peace with their children, without threat of domestic and sexual violence. So what is so terrible to live in lesbian and homosexual couples, I think in democratic countries should it be indifferent of sexual orientation and everyone can live the way he wants, especially the women.

      “The only queer people are those who don't love anybody.”

      ― Rita Mae Brown

      "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come."

      -- Victor Hugo

    • Janet Boone COLUMBIA, SC
      • 9 months ago

      Children do not ask to be born into alternate lifestyle families. And all children are created equally and should be encouraged to appreciate the arts and beautiful things in life. They have precious little beauty in their lives sometime so don't they deserve all we can provide?

    • Jessica Anderson COVINGTON, LA
      • about 1 year ago
      • over 1 year ago

      I'm against discrimination in any form


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