LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Civil rights group GLAAD honored the movie “Milk” and singled-out Reverend Gene Robinson and comedian Kathy Griffin for their work at a Saturday night gala highlighting issues such as gay marriage and equality.
Talk program “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was given a GLAAD Media Award for its episode “Ellen & Portia’s Wedding Day,” covering DeGeneres’ wedding to actress Portia de Rossi.
DeGeneres dedicated the honor to Carl Walker-Hoover, an 11 year-old Massachusetts boy who killed himself earlier this month because school kids bullied him and called him “gay.”
“In my opinion, we are not fighting for gay rights, we are fighting for equal rights,” DeGeneres told the black tie crowd at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater.
The 2009 awards marked the 20th year that films, TV shows, performers and others have been honored by GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
“Milk,” about slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk, was named best film. “Desperate Housewives” was chosen best TV comedy, and “Brothers and Sisters” was named top TV drama.
GLAAD President Neil Giuliano spoke to the audience about the impact TV shows such as “The L Word” and movies like “Brokeback Mountain” have had on introducing audiences to all sorts of lesbian and gay characters and issues they face.
Giuliano touched on marriage and said that despite setbacks like the passage of California’s Proposition 8 which denied gay men and women the right to marry in that state, progress has been made in other states where gay weddings are now legal.
“As we learned in Iowa and Vermont, ignorance and hate does not stop the march of social justice,” Giuliano said.
While many of the night’s speeches focused on social and political issues -- as expected for the activist group -- the night also featured a lot of comedy and music.
Comedian Kathy Griffin accepted the Vanguard Award for her work in the gay community. She dressed in a bikini with a white, gay marriage ribbon, pinned to the bottom.
The makers of video sensation “Prop 8: The Musical,” a parody of the conservative campaign backing Proposition 8, were singled-out with a special recognition award, and the musical number was performed on stage.
The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop in the Episcopal church, was given an honorary award for his work as a religious leader and activist.
Last month, GLAAD held a ceremony in New York City where it handed out other media awards. A similar event is planned for May in San Francisco. A list of winners can be found at www.glaad.org.
Editing by Jane Clark