If you're an organization that fights to protect Florida families, what does $12,802.37 buy you? If you want to protect the American family from poverty, you could use the 100-percent donated funds to help house, feed, clothe, educate or provide medical help for Florida's most needy families. Or you could spend it on 20 hours of flight time over Orlando's Disney World with a banner that warns tourists that “Gay Days” are coming. If you're the Florida Family Association, an organization that has protested the event for over a decade, this may seem like a bargain. But what else could $12,802.37 buy you in Florida?
The Florida Family Association's $12,802.37 Banner
For starters, how about two years' tuition and fees for college? “The Sun-Sentinel” reports that college tuition in Florida steadily rises each year by about 15 percent—forcing many parents (and their children) to delay education or drop out of school. In 2012, Florida state college tuition and fees averaged approximately $5,500 per student, per year. For the same price as 20 hours of banner flight time, the FFA could send one parent or family member to college for two years, with enough left over for bus fare. Just around the corner from Disney, at Orlando's Valencia Community College, tuition is even lower, or an average of 2,100 per student, per year. With this tuition rate, the FFA could provide a 2-year community college education for three single Orlando-based parents. Or, of course: 20 hours of flight time with a banner that reads: “Warning, Gay Day at Disney 6/4.” Which would “protect” a family more?
For Florida families who are about to lose their homes, a donation of $12,802.37 would provide a much-needed windfall for an upside-down mortgage. Florida is second in the nation for foreclosures after California (the “other” Disney location). As of April, 2012, one in 364 housing units were in foreclosure in the state, or 24,712 homes. If the FFA really wanted to help “defend American values”, they could use this money to help save a family's home from being foreclosed. A little under 13K won't pay off a house, but it will help a family pay off back-mortgage payments, hire a foreclosure lawyer, or invest in relocation expenses. Or: the banner.
Finally, $12,802.37 could help a family climb out of poverty. The Bureau of Economic and Business Research reports that one in six Floridians are living in poverty, the highest percentage seen in the state in over a decade. For a four-person family to be considered “poverty level,” the family must earn $23,050, or roughly twice the cost of flying a banner over Disney for two days. This amount may seem minimal to an organization like the FFA, but in a two-parent, poverty-level home, it equals one parent's income for a year. But hey, “Gay Days” warning banners to tourists you will never meet are important, too.
According to the Florida Family Association's website, flying a warning banner over Disney World will help shield families from indecent exposure to gays. But are the families who can afford to go to Disney World the ones who need saving? On June 4, 2012, Disney announced that it would raise ticket prices to $89 per person, per day. For a 4-person family, that equals $356 per day, not including accommodations, parking, airfare and food. For a 2-day weekend visit, that equals a price tag of $712—just to get through the gate. But go ahead, FFA. Warn them.