Voice for Equality: Cyndi Lauper


Singer Cyndi Lauper is an American Grammy and Emmy-award winning musician and actress. Lauper has released eleven albums and over forty singles, selling more than 25 million albums and singles worldwide. She continues to tour the world, often in support of human rights causes.

In Lauper’s 2008 endorsement of Barack Obama, she released the following statement:

I believe we are at a crossroads and the next ten years will determine the future of this country. . . In particular, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is closer than ever to gaining full equality. We are teetering back and forth right now, and we need to act together to push us in the right direction. What we are asking for is only fair and right. We as a society, LGBT or straight, can show that civil rights are important and discrimination is wrong across the board through our vote.”

Nominated for Voices for Equality by: Gregory Disney-Britton


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Voice for Equality: Samuel Jackson


Academy Award-nominated actor Samuel Jackson has appeared in over 70 films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, Jackie Brown, The Incredibles and Black Snake Moan. He was an usher at Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral and subsequently became involved in theater at Morehouse College, Dr. King’s alma mater. He gained critical acclaim in Lee’s “Jungle Fever” and as the bible quoting hit-man Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction.” His films have grossed between $2 to $4 billion, making him the second highest grossing movie star of all time.

In 2008, Samuel L. Jackson publically voiced his opposition to Proposition 8, calling the freedom to marry a “fundamental right.” In a commercial for the “No on 8” campaign, Jackson said:

“It wasn’t that long ago that discrimination was legal in California. Japanese Americans were confined in internment camps, Armenians couldn’t buy a house in the central valley, Latinos and African Americans were told who they could and could not marry. It was a sorry time in our history. Today, the sponsors of Prop 8 want to eliminate fundamental rights. We have an obligation to pass along to our children a more tolerant and decent society. Vote no on Prop 8, it’s unfair and it’s wrong.”

Nominated for Voices for Equality by: Michelle Marzullo

 

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Voice for Equality: Rue McClanahan


Emmy Award-winning actress Rue McClanahan is best known for her roles on the television sitcoms Maude and The Golden Girls. She currently stars as Peggy Ingram in Sordid Lives: The Series.

McClanahan was a proud cast member in the February 2009 benefit Defying Inequality, a celebrity concert for equal marriage rights for the LGBT community. In the company of Hollywood’s finest, McClanahan used this opportunity to publicly voice her support for same-sex marriage.

The show began with a live performance of Marc Shaiman’s Prop. 8: The Musical, and featured impassioned speeches and appearances by entertainers, political activists, and LGBT leaders.


Nominated for Voices for Equality by: Michelle Marzullo

 

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Voice for Equality: Fran Drescher


Actress Fran Drescher is most famous for her starring role on the television series The Nanny, airing throughout the early 1990s. Among her many film credits are American Hot Wax, Summer of Fear, Ragtime, This is Spinal Tap, and Saturday Night Fever.  After survived a vicious rape and uterine cancer, Drescher was moved to political activism. In 2008, she was appointed a diplomat by the U.S. State Department in recognition of her public service and today serves on the Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women's Health Issues.

On the topic of marriage equality, Drescher released the following statement in September, 2008:

“I'm a political activist who believes in preserving the American dream which is tolerance of diversity and the separation of church and state. It's simply un-American not to be tolerant of different lifestyles. If you want to live in a single-minded, religious-based country you're in the wrong place.”

Nominated for Voices for Equality by: Michelle Marzullo


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Voice for Equality: Vanessa Williams


Actress Vanessa Williams made history on September 17, 1983, when she became the first woman of African descent to be crowned Miss America. And so began Williams’ career in entertainment, one that has earned her Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations. She has acted in film, on television and on the Broadway stage, and released three different albums. An outspoken supporter of gay and lesbian rights, the Human Rights Coalition named Williams an official "Ally for Equality" in 2008.  

When asked if she was supportive of marriage equality in a 2005 interview, Williams responded in the affirmative. She said, 

“I have no problem with it. I completely support it. I have many gay friends that are married. Close male friends of mine have been living together as a couple for over 20 years, and they have adopted a beautiful baby girl who is now 3-years old. They are fantastic parents. Other gay couples I know are also looking to adopt. And then I have single gay friends who are adoptive parents.”

Nominated for Voices for Equality by: Michelle Marzullo


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Voice for Equality: Kathleen Turner


Tony and Oscar-nominated actress Kathleen Turner came to fame during the 1980s after roles in Body Heat, Romancing the Stone and Prizzi’s Honor. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the People for the American Way Foundation.

Most recently, Turner participated in “Broadway for a New America: Standing Up for Marriage Equality and a Progressive Agenda for Change” where she openly voiced her support for same-sex marriage.


Nominated for Voices for Equality by: Michelle Marzullo


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Voice for Equality: Brad Pitt

Academy-award winning actor Pitt has starred in such diverse films as "Thelma and Louise," "Twelve Monkeys," "Fight Club," and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." He was twice voted by People magazine as the "Sexiest Man Alive." Pitt's humanitarian activism has become more prominent since his marriage to actress Angelina Jolie.

On September 2006, he was quoted in Esquire saying, "Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able." Two Septembers later, in September 2008, Pitt donated $100,000 to the "No on 8" campaign, against the 2008 California State Constitutional amendment that took away same-sex couples' right to marry, saying :

"...because discrimination has no place in America, my vote will be for equality and against Proposition 8."

Ben Bernard nominated Brad Pitt as a Voice for Equality.

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Voice for Equality: Danny Glover

American actor best known for the Lethal Weapon action flicks, Danny Glover is also known as a political activist. In a 2008 interview, Glover, who is in "full support" of marriage equality, said,
"I think that men and women have the right to decide who their partners are going to be. Men and women have the right to decide how they define their own happiness, and I am in full support of that. Whether they find that in marriage, I am in full support of that. Whether they find that in companionship, I am in full support of that. I think it’s only just."

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Voice for Equality: Marie Osmond

Actress & Country Western Singer Marie Osmond (born October 13, 1959) is an American actress, singer, doll designer, and a member of the show business family, The Osmonds. Although she was never part of her family's singing group, she gained success as a solo country music artist in the 1970s and 1980s. Her best known song is a cover of the country pop ballad "Paper Roses." In 1976, she and her singer brother Donny Osmond began hosting the TV variety show Donny & Marie.

During May 2009, Marie responded to a question about marriage equality by vocalizing her support for her Lesbian daughter’s civil rights: “I think each of us has the right to choose, you know, who makes that medical decision for us. And I think everybody should have the right to share homes and finances with somebody that they care about. You know, on those types of things, I am very supportive. When it comes to marriage, you know, I think that civil rights need to be for all.”

"One of the things that we have to be careful of is that we don't create hate. Because people believe certain things and we can’t make everyone become homogenized. You know. Everybody has a right to believe what they believe, but I do, I do think everybody has a right to have civil rights. That’s what I believe." (Source: Marie Osmond in a radio interview about her daughter being lesbian on KOST 103.5 Los Angeles, May 4, 2009).

Thank you Michelle Marzullo for nominating Marie Osmond as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Phyllis Newman

Actress Phyllis Newman has starred in countless Broadway plays from her debut in Wish You Were Here (1952) to her Tony-award winning performance in I Can Get it for You Wholesale.

Newman has also appeared in numerous T.V. shows including One Life to Live; Murder, She Wrote; and Coming of Age. Newman survived a bout with cancer and recently returned on stage once again in Broadway for a New America: Standing Up for Marriage Equality and a Progressive Agenda for Change.

As part of her performance, Newman delivered a poignant message from the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia (which struck down racial discrimination in marriage). Under the spotlight, Newman recited the defendant's words: "'Today young people realize that if someone loves someone they have the right to marry...no matter their race, sex, no matter their sexual orientation, [all] should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people's religious beliefs over others, especially if it denies people's civil rights.'"

Freedom to Marry is grateful to Chaya Himelfard for nominating Phyllis Newman as a Voice for Equality!

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