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All in the Family: Family Equality Council Honors Heroes in Fight for Social Justice

All in the Family: Family Equality Council Honors Heroes in Fight for Social Justice

Jane Lynch summarized the theme of the annual awards dinner of Family Equality Council when she stated that we are all in this fight together. At the event, held last Saturday at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, Lynch presented an award to the plaintiffs in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial challenging Proposition 8. The recipients echoed Lynch’s remarks that marriage equality rights are intimately tied to the rights of LGBT families.

Jane Lynch summarized the theme of the annual awards dinner of Family Equality Council when she stated that we are all in this fight together. At the event, held last Saturday at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, Lynch presented an award to the plaintiffs in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial challenging Proposition 8. The recipients echoed Lynch’s remarks that marriage equality rights are intimately tied to the rights of LGBT families.

“For us, marriage comes first, then children,” said Paul Katami, who along with his partner Jeff Zarrillo are plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case.

Also honored were fellow plaintiffs, lesbian couple Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who are raising four boys together.

“We did this for our children. Our kids have taught us to stand up for the truth and for what is right,” said Perry.

Staying with the refrain “whatever affects any of us in the LGBT community affects all of us,” the family rights organization also honored columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller, founders of the “It Gets Better Project,” which addresses bullying of LGBT youth.

Savage and Miller’s YouTube video response to the suicides of a number of young people who were bullied for being gay has been watched by more than 2 million viewers and includes contributions by thousands of supporters, including President Obama.

Also honored was Luke Macfarlane of the ABC TV show Brothers & Sisters. Awards were presented by David Marshall Grant, Jane Lynch of the FOX TV show Glee and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler brought home the importance of the continued fight for family equality with a story of one of her twin sons who was recently hospitalized with a life threatening health issue. Because Chrisler lives in Massachusetts, where her and her spouse’s partnership and parentage is legally recognized, both mothers able to be at thier son’s side without facing the horrors of many families who are cut off from their ailing family members because their relationships are not legally recognized.

Jennifer Chrisler with Jane Lynch

Owing in great part to the lobbying of Family Equality Council, President Obama passed legislation last April giving greater medical rights to same-sex partners, so that they may visit and make medical decisions for their partners in the hospital.

Chrisler brought the crowd of 250 supporters to roaring cheers when she declared “we will not stop until there are equal rights and protections for all.”

Tonight we were privileged to recognize some extraordinary people who took steps to help our children understand the value of their lives, who demanded that courts honor the authenticity of our relationships and who helped demonstrate honest portrayals of our lives and our families in the media,” said Chrisler. “As we celebrate the advances they helped us make in 2010, we must contemplate the enormous path we still have to blaze. The Family Equality Council is committed to ensure that work leads to full rights for our families.”

The event, now in its 7th year, raised more than $250,000.  Proceeds from the event help sustain Family Equality Council’s educational, advocacy and policy work.

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K. Pearson Brown