Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) June 17, 2013
Celebrities like Presenter Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Celebrity in the Spotlight Liberty Award Honoree Justin Bartha (The New Normal, CBGB), Liberty Award Honoree Brendon Ayanbadejo (Super Bowl Champ), Presenter Greg Louganis (Splash, Olympic Legend), Carly Chaikin (Suburgatory), Celebrity Red Carpet Host Blair Late (Bravo’s Newlyweds: The First Year), Lisa Vanderpump (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Presenter Janina Gavankar (True Blood), Jai Rodriguez (Malibu Country), Rex Lee (Suburgatory), Tracie Thoms (Looper, RENT), Wilson Cruz (LGBT Activist, He’s Just Not That Into You) and Louis Van Amstel (Dancing with the Stars) joined Bass at the posh London Hotel in West Hollywood for a VIP Red Carpet Cocktail as they came together to show their support for marriage equality.
Blair Late hosted the Red Carpet and as celebrity guests arrived, he asked them questions like what equality meant to them and they also shared who served as their inspiration as part of Lambda Legal’s Inspiration Campaign. Guests were treated to cocktails, a silent auction and music by jazz band Gongfarmer Collective. Bread Basket Cake Company donated specialty cupcakes and also created an exquisite custom-designed 40th Anniversary display cake. Other highlights included a Jetson E-Bike eco-friendly electronic bike as part of the silent auction, a custom booth-less photobooth from Action Flipbooks, a selection of premium liquor from Leslie Barclay and Pacific Wine and Spirits and a selection of wine and champagne from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly.
The West Coast Liberty Awards is an annual opportunity for Lambda Legal to recognize and thank individuals and organizations whose public advocacy and work has furthered the cause of Lambda Legal’s vision of equality. Lambda Legal is on the frontlines fighting for equality, working in support of the challenges to California’s Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), heard in the United States Supreme Court earlier this year. Lambda Legal’s amicus briefs join dozens of other briefs filed – including the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice, the State of California and more than 250 businesses from across the country. Lambda Legal is the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization whose mission is to achieve the full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people and people living with HIV.
Following the reception, VIP guests were treated to a moving and entertaining dinner and awards presentation outdoors under the stars produced by GBK with premier sponsors Toyota and Irell & Manella LLP. Bass hosted the event and also shared his personal story about why the fight for equality is important to him before introducing Gavankar, who presented an award to the Magic Johnson Foundation. Kirk Scott accepted the award on behalf of the foundation, thanking Lambda Legal and the foundation for working to create a better world for his two sons.
Bucatinsky presented the Celebrity in the Spotlight Liberty Award to Bartha who was being honored for embracing his role and taking a stand in the fight for equality. In addition to his advocacy for equality, The New Normal was also recognized at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards for “their thoughtful depiction of gay characters,” where Bartha also shared his personal story of his brother’s coming out. Bartha gave a thoughtful and impassioned speech calling for equality from a country that was created on the basis of fairness leaving the crowd captivated.
Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Director, Rick Davis, introduced Eric Webber and thanked him for his continuous work towards achieving equality. As the immediate past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), Webber was recognized for his tireless advocacy for LGBT individuals in the legal profession that began 30 years ago when he was a law student at the University of Chicago.
Closing out the awards presentation, Louganis introduced Ayanbadejo, thanking him for being an ally for LGBT individuals and for continuing to take a stand against LGBT discrimination. Ayanbadejo shared how Louganis was a hero while growing up not only as an athlete but also as someone who was using his voice and celebrity to help achieve equality for all, creating a very special moment on stage. In a heartfelt speech, Ayanbadejo continued to talk about why it was important to him to set the example for young people, including his two children who were also in attendance.
Ayanbadejo continued to share that his goal is to inspire change in young adults so that discrimination against the LGBT community is something that people will be able to look back on and scoff at, similar to the discrimination his parents faced regarding interracial marriages, which was once illegal. Concluding the evening, guests were treated to breathtaking views of Los Angeles at a rooftop dessert social.
Other celebrity guests in attendance included Michael Turchin (Model), Jamie Gray Hyder (True Blood), Grant Bowler (Defiance, Liz & Dick), Grant Show (Devious Maids), Katherine LaNasa (Deception), Chioke Dmachi (By the Way), Dennis Christopher (Django Unchained), Iqbal Theba (Glee), Josh Sussman (Glee), John Quale (“Prince Poppycock” finalist on America’s Got Talent), David Dean Bottrell (Boston Legal), Sharna Burgess (Dancing with the Stars), Katrina Parker (The Voice), Jeff Pedersen (Bravo’s Newlyweds: The First Year), Kristanna Loken (The L Word, Model), Cooper Huckabee (Django Unchained), Nick Steele (Model, Diary of a Champion), and Chris Bergoch (Starlet).
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