Hollywood urged to give more to save gay marriage

Thu Oct 2, 2008 3:43pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood, long considered a bastion of liberal thinking, is being chided for not opening its wallet to save the right to same-sex marriage in California even as several A-list gays and lesbians rush to the altar.

With a month to go before a November 4 referendum seeking to abolish the newly won right of same-sex couples to marry in California, some in the entertainment community are anxious that more of their own are not supporting gay rights by donating money to defeat the proposed ban.

So far, the largest celebrity donations have come from actor Brad Pitt and director Steven Spielberg who each contributed $100,000 each last month to help defeat the ballot proposal, known as Proposition 8.

"We are concerned that the entertainment industry hasn't stepped up to the plate to fight this unnecessary initiative ... Now it's time for the entertainment industry as a whole to take the lead," activist Jonathan Lewis said on Wednesday.

Lewis, an entrepreneur from Ohio, said his family would match the next $500,000 that entertainment industry leaders contribute to the "No on Prop 8" campaign.

Hundreds of gays and lesbians have married since a May decision by the California Supreme Court overturning a state ban on same-sex marriage.

But opponents of the ruling put the issue up for a state-wide referendum that seeks to amend the California constitution to allow marriage only between a man and a woman.

Recent opinion polls show that 38 percent of California voters would support a ban on same-sex marriage with 55 percent opposed. But supporters of the ban, including several religious and conservative groups, have edged ahead in fund-raising.   Continued...

<p>Ellen DeGeneres (L) and Portia de Rossi arrive at the 16th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Party to celebrate the Academy Awards, the Oscars, at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California, February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>