Tag Archive | "Human Rights Campaign"

Advising Atlanta’s Mayor


By D. David Kinney

Atlanta is a progressive splash of blue treading water in a blustery sea of red. Keeping Atlanta on a Democratic bearing has been Mayor Kasim Reed since he was first inaugurated in 2010. However, Mayor Reed isn’t a member of the LGBT community. He doesn’t necessarily know what our community needs or how laws are uniquely affecting our population. So Reed created a new LGBT advisor position to help him navigate the legal landscape with respect to gay issues.

“Last Autumn the mayor created the advisor position and asked me if I would serve. I was very honored and, of course, accepted,” Robin Joy Shahar told FENUXE Magazine during a recent interview. Shahar is the Mayor’s Advisor on LGBT Issues and Chief Counsel at the City of Atlanta Department of Law. She began her career with the City of Atlanta in 1993. “I’ve worked in the Attorney’s office since 1993. I started out as an associate city attorney and worked my way up to now be one of the chief counsels in the office,” she explained.

It is Shahar’s job to advise the mayor on LGBT issues, however, she still has to separate her personal feelings from her professional opinions. “As a lawyer I have to distinguish between what is in my heart and how I address things professionally. Similarly, as an advisor I have what is in my heart, but I advise the mayor for what makes sense in his role. He feels very passionately about [LGBT rights] and I identify ways for him to accomplish what he wants to accomplish. I take that role very seriously and I’m honored to be in this role,” Shahar commented.

Shahar made an effort to point out that all of her work is made possible because Mayor Reed wants to affect positive change for the LGBT community. “He believes in it. Atlanta has a history of being on the right side of civil rights issues. Civil rights add to the richness of this city. The mayor has identified that LGBT rights are basic human rights. On the issue of marriage equality it took him more time. But he was voting on LGBT equality issues in the legislator in a progressive, supportive way years ago,” Shahar said.

Atlanta has a large and beautifully diverse LGBT community which must make advising the mayor on LGBT issues a daunting task. Shahar has to consider everyone in our community when she makes recommendations to the mayor. “It does feel like a lot of weight, but it gives me the opportunity to help Atlanta be cutting edge on LGBT equal treatment,” she remarked.

If Shahar and Mayor Reed’s goal is to keep Atlanta on the cutting edge of LGBT equal treatment there is data that clearly suggests the Mayor is succeeding. “The city is the first in the deep South to get a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index,” Shahar cheerfully added, “It is huge for us and that is not a stopping point. It is an area where we will continue to look at cutting edge ways to be supportive of the LGBT community and equal treatment as well as equal rights (because they’re not the same). As his advisor on LGBT issues I’m committed to providing him suggestions on how to do that. He wants to be doing that. I am talking to people, reading things and thinking about ways to improve Atlanta’s protection of LGBT rights.”

One of the ways Shahar is helping Mayor Reed improve LGBT rights for gay Atlantans is through their work with the Freedom to Marry organization. “The Freedom to Marry is an organization that has been around for a while,” Shahar said, “Their goal is to try to get support nationally for marriage equality for different reasons. One of which is that even though the Supreme Court is supposed to be politically neutral the reality is that public opinion does influence the timing of decisions. Freedom to Marry would like to show that there is a majority of Americans that support marriage equality.” Shahar helped Reed get on board as a co-chair of Freedom to Marry’s new initiative, Southerners for the Freedom to Marry. We’re “focusing on the South because it is likely the area of the United States that needs more attention in terms of education and having people think about the issue of marriage equality. Ultimately, it will also allow people who are struggling with it to have their views moved toward understanding the importance of marriage equality. As [Mayor Reed] said in his press conference, he will wear as many hats as necessary to help achieve marriage equality,” Shahar detailed. However, she didn’t ignore the fact that Reed hasn’t always supported marriage equality. Instead, Shahar highlighted Reed’s evolution on gay marriage as the reason for his ardent support. “Marriage equality is an issue that the has struggled with and come to resolution with relatively recently in the past year or so. After making a decision about that issue he felt strongly that he needed to support it. Not just in Atlanta but nationally because it is a basic human right. He supports basic human rights and Atlanta supports basic human rights,” she said.

Atlanta may support gay rights, but the same can’t be said for Georgia after recent legislative scares in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Both chambers considered legislation called the “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” also known as HB 1023 and SB 377. Critics argued that the bills would legalize anti-gay discrimination. However, Shahar sounded optimistic that Georgia won’t pass these bills. The Georgia anti-gay “bills were almost identical to Arizona’s. What I thought was fascinating and very powerful was that the legislators who wrote the bills in Arizona realized that they had made a mistake and requested the governor veto them. That the Super Bowl came out and said to Arizona, ‘If you pass this we may not come here.’ That respected large corporations said to Arizona, ‘Don’t do this.’ You’re going to have people who feel threatened by the progress of LGBT rights. That’s to be expected. But what’s so fascinating is that they’re being drowned out. It wasn’t even the LGBT community that ultimately changed the minds of these folks. It was the reality that the private sector isn’t going to put up with it. The private sector is no longer behind it. The private sector by and large understands the importance of LGBT equality and is going to say so,” Shahar explained.

So we narrowly prevented a setback here in Georgia with HB 1023 and SB 377. Can Georgia’s LGBT community realize progress when we’re fighting to merely maintain ground? “I never thought that in my lifetime I would see the decision that came out of the Supreme Court this past year. I think that Georgia is moving forward. I think that statewide the progress will take time. I think we’re moving in the right direction consistently. We may have to step back and take two steps forward. I don’t think it will be easy. But I think there are enough people on the right side of this issue that progress will continue to be made. That’s huge. I think the city will lead the way nationwide in terms of progressive policies and progressive laws. Atlanta will continue to be a place where LGBT people will visit and make home. A place where they enjoy living, working and feeling like they are equal citizens like anyone else who lives here,” Shahar concluded.

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Atlanta Gay News Flash


By D. David Kinney

Fred Phelps Dies After Lifetime Of Harassing Gay Community

Fred Phelps died Wednesday night at age 84. He spent his time on Earth leading the Westboro Baptist Church on a crusade against the LGBT and Jewish communities. Fred and his family members make up the majority of the church’s small membership. For years they’ve shouted Fred’s signature mantra, “God Hates Fags,” while holding up large anti-gay posters.

Reaction to Phelps’ death has been mixed in social media. Some were quick to mock Phelps:

 

Others used social media to direct people’s attention toward helping LGBT charities instead of hate, anger or mockery:

 

Yet, even after Phelps’ death, the most bombastic reactions from social media came from Westboro Baptist Church’s twitter account:

 

First Gay Hug Video

New Video Takes ‘First Kiss’ To ‘First Gay Hug’

There are tons of “First Kiss” spoofs and parodies in every corner of the Internet. But we’ve found one video that goes beyond the laughs. “First Gay Hug” asks 15 homophobic people to simply hug a gay person. Its creators bill it as “a homophohic experiment.” You can watch it below:

High School

High School Censors Gay Student’s Coming Out Story In Yearbook

Taylor Ellis is a high school junior who was simply interviewed by the assistant editor at his school’s yearbook. The short profile was about Ellis coming out and finding acceptance in his community. However, trouble started when the school district’s superintendent forced the yearbook to remove the profile and “insisted that the piece was not ‘consistent with the mission of our school,’” Slate.com reports. The Human Rights Campaign is calling on Sheridan High School in Arkansas to stop censoring Taylor Ellis’ yearbook profile.

Atlanta Gay Franklin Graham

Evangelist Franklin Graham Praises Putin For Tough Stance On Gays

Fred Phelps isn’t the only Baptist making headlines today. The son of evangelist Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for standing up against the LGBT community. ““In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues,” the Charlotte Observer reports Graham wrote, “Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda. Our president and his attorney general have turned their backs on God and His standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead. This is shameful.

John Kerry FENUXE

U.S. Sending Gay Experts To Uganda

Secretary of State John Kerry is arranging for “American experts on homosexuality” to meet with Ugandan leaders. Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed the “Kill the Gays” bill into law after “a panel of party members with medical backgrounds Museveni convened to study the cause of homosexuality presented a report concluding homosexuality is not an inborn trait,” Buzzfeed reports. He had previously said he would not sign the law if homosexuality was genetic. 

Photos: Shutterstock.com, David ShankboneAmericasroofdbking

 

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Apple’s CEO Supports ENDA


By D. David Kinney

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wrote an op-ed that appears in Monday’s Wall Street Journal supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). “The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. ENDA simply affords to all Americans basic employment protection from discrimination based on irrational prejudice. The bill explicitly prohibits preferential treatment and quotas and does not permit disparate impact suits. In addition, it exempts small businesses, religious organizations and the military,” the Human Rights Campaign writes about ENDA on its website. 

There is a vote scheduled tonight in the Senate making good on a promise from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the legislation would be considered before Thanksgiving. The Senate hasn’t voted on ENDA since 1996 when it failed to pass by one vote (49-50). However, times have changed and a simple majority is no longer sufficient to pass legislation in the Senate. Because of a likely Republican filibuster the Democrats must now amass 60 votes to pass ENDA. 

What can you do to help? Call Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator Saxby Chambliss and tell them that you support ENDA. They’re not going to support ENDA, but it is important to let Congress know the bill has support… even here in Georgia!  If you want to get more involved check out HRC’s webpage about ENDA.

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Should you come out at work?


When we think of “coming out,” it usually centers around telling friends and family. However, in order to live out and open it is usually necessary for us to come out in other areas of life as well. No single place causes as much “coming out” anxiety as the workplace.

Some employers are über gay friendly and some are not. So how will you know if it is OK to come out at work? The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) suggests that you start by asking questions and assessing your work situation. The first place to look is at your workplace nondiscrimination policy to see if it includes sexual orientation or gender identity. Employers in Georgia are not required to have such policies that recognize sexual orientation.

After assessing your workplace situation, if you are comfortable coming out, then choose your timing and context carefully. It could be kind of awkward to waltz into the office one random morning and just start singing harrowing tales of your gayness. HRC suggests you make a plan and come out to the people you feel most comfortable with at first and “talk about LGBT-related news stories, movies, TV shows or other topics as a way to signal your views or start the conversation.”

So why come out at work? Wouldn’t it be easier to just keep your coworkers in the dark and let them mind their own business? Sure, if that’s how you feel. However, there are benefits to coming out at work as well. Moreover, there are benefits to both you personally and to your company.

HRC explains that being out at work “eliminates the need to hide or mislead, makes deeper friendships possible, breaks down barriers to understanding, builds trusting working relationships, let’s us bring our ‘whole selves’ to work, being open can make you more productive, and can even benefit your career because your peers will see you in a new, perhaps even courageous, light.”

The personal advantages alone can often make coming out at work worthwhile; however, according to a new study called “Power of Out 2.0,” things are getting better, but we have farther to go. The Center for Talent Innovation recently released their updated study that is based on a survey of 983 American employees who self-identify as LGBT. The group also conducted similar studies in other countries around the world.

The survey found:

  • In 2012, 59 percent of LGBT people surveyed were out at work. This number is up from 52 percent the year before.
  • Coming out at work, “gives LGBT professionals access to business opportunities through which they can exercise their leadership.”
  • Coming out doesn’t benefit men and women equally. “A significant gender gap persists between LGB male and female employees with respect to how their likely LGB status benefits them in the workplace. Men are nearly twice as likely to consider their LGB identity an asset in the workplace.”
  • Our community’s straight allies really help. “The creation of a workplace where LGBT talent can thrive is due in large part to allies. Twenty-four percent of LGBT workers credit their decision to come out professionally to allies in their workplace. While many straight employees define themselves as allies of their LGBT coworkers, only a small percentage — 12 percent of men and 23 percent of women — quality as an ‘active ally,’ i.e. someone who has performed two or more LGBT supporting actions, such as aiding a coworker in his or her coming out or speaking up to co-workers in defense of LGBTs.”
  • “LGBT women are more likely to face discrimination because of their ‘double jeopardy’ of gender and sexual orientation or gender identity — 74 percent of lesbians say they encounter bias compared to 51 percent of gay men.”
  • “Discrimination continues to pressure LGBT individuals to resort to ‘passing’ as heterosexual. Twenty-three percent of men and 15 percent of women believe that changing their mannerisms, voice or clothing or hiding relationships or friendships in order to ‘pass’ at work has helped their career.”
  • “Bias and discrimination are an issue within the LGB community. Gay and bisexual men are 114 percent more likely than women to report LGB discrimination. Bisexual men and women are 59 percent less likely than lesbians and gay men to feel a part of the community.”

Coming out at work can be a personally liberating experience and can boost employee productivity; however, it is important that you accurately assess your work situation before making a decision to come out.

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Matthew Morrison to Accept Award at Atlanta HRC Gala


Is your tux ready? The Human Rights Campaign’s 26th annual Atlanta Gala Dinner and Auction is on May 4, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. As if the annual gala isn’t enough, Matthew Morrison (and his incredible abs) will be on hand as the featured speaker and to accept HRC’s Ally for Equality Award.

Matthew MorrisonMorrison is an Emmy, Tony, and Golden Globe-nominated star best known for his role on FOX’s “Glee”. According to HRC, Morrison is being honored “for his outspoken support of equality for the LGBT community. The Ally for Equality Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who dedicate time, energy, spirit and whole-hearted commitment to better the lives of LGBT people. [The] award is given to allies outside the LGBT community who stand up on behalf of equality for all Americans.”

Morrison earned his acting, dancing, and singing chops in the theatres of New York City years before he corralled the chorus on “Glee”. Morrison’s first Broadway show was the musical version of “Footloose”. He was also in the cast of The Rocky Horror Show in 2002 and later in “Hairspray”.

Leaving the bright lights of Broadway behind, Morrison set his sights on television, where he guest starred on several shows including “Numb3rs”, “CSI: Miami”, and “Hack”. Eventually, Morrison made his way to “Glee”, and he’s been a rising star ever since.

Morrison also has a new studio album set to drop on June 4, 2013. The album is titled “Where It All Began” and is a collection of theatre classics. This will be the first album released by Adam Levine’s new label 222 Records. “I am thrilled to be working with Matthew Morrison,” Adam Levine recently told Amy Sciarretto of Artist Direct. “I am excited for everyone to hear the album because he has so much talent and [I] am so proud to have this release produced by the legendary Phil Ramone.”

Complementing his album drop, Morrison also has a PBS special premiering June 1, 2013 called “Matthew Morrison: Where It All Began – Live From the Bushnell.”

Thanks for being a straight ally, Matthew, and we’ll see you at the Gala!

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Atlanta locals earn awards from the HRC


The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced who will receive their two local awards at the 26th Annual Atlanta HRC Gala Dinner and Auction at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Atlanta on May 4, 2013.

Joining Hearts, a housing assistance non-profit organization based in Atlanta that benefits those living with HIV/AIDS, will receive the Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award. Since its founding in 1987, Joining Hearts has contributed more than $1,589,500 to help house people affected by HIV/AIDS. Joining Hearts is an all-volunteer organization that is one of the oldest of its kind in the region.

Dr. Michael Shutt will be the recipient of the Leon Allen and Winston Johnson Community Service Award. Shutt is the assistant dean for Campus Life at Emory University, where he has also served as the director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Life since 2008. Shutt contributes to the LGBT community in higher education through his work on the Executive Board of the National Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the University of Georgia’s College of Education Department of Counseling and Human Development.

More than 1,000 attendees were at the 2012 Gala Dinner and Auction, which raised approximately $500,000 for the HRC’s work toward LGBT equality. Information about the event, sponsorships, and tickets can be found at atlantahrcdinner.org. Purchase your tickets online; they will not be sold at the door.

 

 

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Gay Activist Runs for House Seat



Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Someone very close to Ken Britt isn’t happy about his bid for Georgia House of Representatives. His name is Loki, and he’s a Jack Russell.

“He doesn’t like this campaign at all because I’m not there,” Ken said of his pet.

Hopefully Loki has plenty of chew toys because Ken doesn’t appear to be losing interest in his quest for the District 56 seat, which recently came up for grabs when incumbent Kathy Ashe decided not to seek re-election. Ken faces Mable Thomas for the seat, and since there is no Republican opponent, the new representative will be decided in the July 31 Democratic primary election.

“I would have regretted it if I had walked away from the opportunity to at least try to gain office,” said Ken. “I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for me to put to work my background in the community and business.”

If Ken were a high school senior, his yearbook bio would make even the most overachieving student look like a slacker. Among his extensive community service and activism are board positions with Georgia Equality, AID Atlanta, the Human Rights Campaign and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. After working with Georgia Equality, Ken dipped his toe in the political pool by helping elect qualified LGBT people to office, starting with Representative Karla Drenner.

“I realized through watching the political process that as LGBT people we are not going to get our rights unless we got involved in the political process,” said Ken, who retired as executive director of the law firm Alston & Bird in 2009 and served in the Georgia Legislature as a registered lobbyist volunteer in 2011.

Ken also worked on the successful campaigns of Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan and Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner and became very involved in the Victory Fund, a national organization that strives to get LGBT people elected to public office.

Considering his background, becoming a politician seemed like a natural next step for Ken

“I’ve done a lot of political work behind the scenes and I felt it was time for me to step up to the plate and see if there was some good I could do,” he said.

GET TO KNOW KEN BRITT

Hit the Road Running
“I already have relationships with people like Alex Wan and Joan Garner and other city council members and state representatives and senators. I can put the team together to help get things done for District 56.”

A Logical Perspective
“I’m not naïve enough to think I’m going to make major changes in the Legislature considering the political environment. What we can do is stop bad things from happening (or try to stop them from happening) and try to enact some laws that will help the people we represent.”

The Needs of District 56
“There’s great need on the south side for economic development. The south side doesn’t have the goods and services that our citizens have in the north side. So there are all kinds of potential and opportunity for economic growth and development there. Another issue in the district is jobs. A lot of people are in an economic crisis and are looking for work. Public safety is an issue north and south. Economic development, transportation and education are other issues I’d work on.”

His Heritage
“I come from a working class background. My mother is Italian American. She was the first American-born sibling in her family. We moved to Atlanta when I was in my early teens. My father was a mechanic early in his life. My grandfather and uncles were barbers. They were working class people and they were Italian immigrants who moved here in the 1920s with the mass immigration from Europe.”

Hello Georgia
“My family moved to Tucker from Brooklyn. The change from New York to Atlanta was quite a traumatic experience but it turned out to be a great one for me. Growing up for me was typically normal—whatever normal is.”

Serving America
“The Army was a great experience for me. I was fortunate that although I was in the Army during Vietnam, I was assigned to duty in Europe. I was in a tank battalion and did administrative and legal work while I was there. It made me grow up and become independent and self-sufficient and gave me good training for the rest of my life.”

The Meaning of “America”
“Freedom of choice. To be able to live openly and free. To be able to make your own decisions with your life without being controlled by government. I think government should be there to help but shouldn’t be intrusive.”

Favorite ice cream
“Oreo cookie!”

Spare Time? What’s That?
I’m a food junkie. I don’t cook so I’m at restaurants all the time. I love theater. I work out a good bit, although I haven’t worked out lately because this campaign has been crazy.”

Celebrating Independence Day
“A typical Fourth of July for me would be to watch the parades on television and then spend the evening watching fireworks with friends.”

To learn more about Ken Britt, please click HERE.

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HRC Endorses Ken Britt for Georgia House of Representatives


An openly gay candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives received a stamp of approval from the Human Rights Campaign today.

The nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization endorsed Ken Britt in his bid for the state House of Representatives seat for District 56, which runs from Ansley Park, through Midtown and to the Capitol View neighborhood just south of downtown.

Britt currently serves as a member of the Georgia Democratic Party State Committee and is an Ambassador for the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

“Ken has a lengthy record of community service and political activism, as well as the experience gained during more than 30 years in executive-level law firm administration,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Serving in the Georgia House of Representatives will allow him to continue his work on important issues like equality, economic development and access to quality affordable health care.”

Solmonese said Britt has an impressive track record of leadership on progressive community and political issues. In addition to his work for the state Democratic Party, Britt was recently appointed as a community liaison to Congressman John Lewis’ 2012 re-election effort.

“Ken’s ability to represent diverse constituencies and reach across the aisle to achieve consensus is needed in the Georgia General Assembly. When Ken is elected, the people of Georgia District 56 can rest assured that their interests will be well served,” Solmonese said.

“I am honored by the support of the Human Rights Campaign,” said Britt, “especially because it has been a model of grassroots action in diverse communities. I appreciate HRC recognizing my experience and passion, the strength of this campaign and, particularly, the needs of the 56th District.”

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Don’t Be A Gay Penguin: 5 Alternatives to the Tuxedo


Ryan Lee, Associate Writer: News & Current Events

The upcoming Human Rights Campaign dinner is often referred to as Atlanta’s gay prom for grown-ups, but it unfortunately tends to show how juvenile our collective fashion sense is. The night is one of our best opportunities to be our fanciest, but so many of us play it safe by looking like a bow-tied penguin.

The motto for this year’s HRC dinner, which takes place May 5, should be: Tuxedos are for teenagers and butlers. It’s time to take risks and show the stylish creativity for which we’re supposedly known.

With a little more than two weeks left before this year’s dinner, you still have time to select an outfit that will help you stand out from the crowd. Here are a few ideas for alternatives to a tux, and remember, a thrift store can be your best friend when pulling off an eclectic look.

Rainbow Sherbert

 

Does anything sound more boring than black, white and gray? If you’re going to wear a tux or sport coat, at least liven it up with a little bit of color. How about a fire orange blazer with kelly green slacks, or a fuschia vest with a teal bow tie? Have everyone else wishing they spent their days and nights in living color.

The Freddie Mercury

 

Whether in a leotard or leather jacket, in a feathered suit or floral-print kimono, few people have challenged the standards of fashion more flamboyantly than the late Freddie Mercury. When channeling the rebellious spirit of the former Queen front-man, you can’t go wrong with sequins, velvet, satin, leather, silk, plunging necklines and any variety of form-fitting pants.

Preppyboy Swagg

 

It’s May in Hotlanta, so why cover yourself up with full-length attire? It’s possible to show off a little skin while keeping it classy enough for the HRC crowd, whether in a pair of pin-striped daisy dukes, or in some tuxedo trousers that have been cropped at the knee. You can also sport a sharp vest on top of a short-sleeved dress shirt to complete the Schoolyard Chic look.

Gender-Neutral Draping

 

When did pants take over the world? Let’s go retro with the androgynous togas of ancient Greece, or bring some culture to the staid HRC dinner with an Indian dhoti or an African Dashiki. It’s also easy to add flow to a traditional outfit by wearing a scarf instead of a neck-tie.

The Royal Party

 

Oh, why not be Prince Charming (or Cinderella) for the magical evening? Wear a regal robe that lets all of the wannabes know who the real queen of the party is, or don the quasi-military looks that Prince William wore during his wedding. A crown or tiara is the simplest way to infuse a touch of royalty into your look, and may lead to a fairy tale ending to this year’s dinner.

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Hollywood’s Must-Have This Season: Gay Marriage



Ryan Lee, Associate Writer: News & Current Events

In the first years of the new millennium, it sometimes felt like celebrities had grown tired of gay rights. Maybe Hollywood was drained after two decades of rallying attention for AIDS, or maybe celebrities were drawn to more voguish causes like global warming or animal cruelty.

Whatever the reason, our rich-and-famous friends seemed to be distantly distracted as state after state (including California) enacted gay marriage bans, leaving us to wonder if our movement had gone the way of LIVESTRONG bracelets or minefield-clearing when it came to celebrity causes.

Well, darlings, the gay rights movement is back in style, with stars clamoring to get a little queer justice cred. No more Judith Light leading our crusade for equal rights – the A-listers like us once again! (Smooches, Judy! Thanks for everything!)

The Human Rights Campaign released a video today of “House of Lies” star Kristen Bell speaking in favor of marriage equality.

When my fiance and I decided to get married, it was because we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. And it breaks my heart to know that millions of gay Americans still can’t marry the one they love, and I can. That makes no sense. So please join me and the majority of Americans who support marriage equality nationwide. The time is now.

Bell joins such celebrities as Oscar-winner Mo’Nique, rocker Jason Mraz and professional football player Scott Fujita in the HRC video campaign, which emphasizes that same-sex marriage is about love, family and commitment. Bell’s appearance comes a few weeks after she told the Advocate that she and fiance Dax Shepard were postponing their nuptials due to their gay friends being unable to marry.

Another gay marriage project that attracted Hollywood’s chicest was the March 3 reading of the play “8,” which was based on transcripts of the Prop 8 trial in California . George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, the woman who does the voice of Lisa Simpson – god, we’re hotter than the fight against genocide and famine right now!

What has helped make gay rights so very “in” this year? Surely getting the stamp of approval from Vogue Editor Anna Wintour in January helped raise our profile.

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