Voice for Equality: Harvey Fierstein

Actor Harvey Fierstein is usually recognized for his gravel-voice that echoed across the Broadway stage in Hairspray, for which he won a Tony award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Edna Turnblad. Fierstein has also lent his talent to television; his credits include The Simpsons; the HBO special The Sissy Duckling (which he wrote as a children's book); and Murder, She Wrote.

Having always been openly gay, Fierstein has written extensively on GLBT issues, and has been quoted as saying, "...if a heterosexual has a right to do it, then I have a right to do it and if it's important to the gay youth--who are now setting the agenda—then it's important to me." In the aftermath of the 2008 election, Fierstein erote a column in The Huffington Post in the aftermath of the 2008 election emphasizing his support for marriage equality.

Thank you Chaya Himelfarb for nominating Harvey to be a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Tyne Daly

Actress Tyne Daly is best known for her portrayal of detective Mary Beth Lacey in the television show "Cagney and Lacey", Tyne Daly is a strong feminist who uses the same force in her acting roles as she does when taking on opponents of marriage equality.

In the fall of 2008 Daly appeared with several other notable straight allies (such as Amy Brenneman and Dolores Huerta) in a series of public service announcements entitled "Stop the Hate, Vote No on Prop 8", concerning California's Proposition 8 which ultimately passed and rescinded the state's freedom to marry law.

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Voice for Equality: Nathan Lane

Actor Nathan Lane is best known for his hilarious roles such as the scheming Max Bialystock in The Producers, the ever-so loyal Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and the cross-dresser Albert in The Birdcage.

Lane's grace and humor have transcended into his personal life as well; when Lane told his mother that he was gay she said to him (quite plainly), "I wish you were dead." To which Lane wryly replied, "I knew you'd understand." After courageously coming out of the closet in the wake of Matthew Shepard's death, Lane has worked relentlessly with Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids, and has been honored by organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project.

In an April 2009 interview with The Advocate, Lane said that he and his long-time partner were not considering getting married; however, he proclaimed that "I'll fight for the rights of everyone else, but we're [him and his partner] are perfectly happy the way we are."

Thank you Chaya Himelfarb for nominating Nathan Lane as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: David Hyde Pierce

Actor David Hyde Pierce joined a long list of celebrities in 2008 opposing Proposition 8 including Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, Brad Pitt, Ellen Degeneres, Molly Ringwalk, Bridget Finda, Jason Tam, Stephen Bing, Gus Van Sant, George Takei, Barbara Streisland, Melissa Etherride, Mary J. Blige and Rob Reiner but his support of marriage equality, and not simple opposition to Prop 8 was reported in the media until news of his marriage to Brian Hargrove on October 24, 2008.

Pierce said of his wedding ring, “This wedding ring means so much to me. We've been together so long. It represents all the years since we first met. It represents all the family and friends who supported us all those years. It represents all the family and friends we've lost together. It represents the future that we don't know what it's going to be but we know we're going to face it together until, as they say, death do us part.”

Freedom to Marry salutes David Pierce and congratulates him on his marriage!

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Voice for Equality: Brad Pitt

William Bradley "Brad" Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and film producer. He has been cited as one of the world's most attractive men and his off-screen life is widely reported. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and has won one Golden Globe Award out of four nominations While he currently has no plans to get married again, he explained why he was the first celebrity to donate to the fight in California against Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot, which banned the right of same sex couples to tie the knot. He said, "People who are against gay marriage do not understand the very freedoms that they themselves are enjoying." "What if someone said, 'Sorry, no Christianity here? No Judaism. Certainly no Mormons.' No one would stand for that, and I wouldn't allow anyone to say that either. I'd fight them in the same way." Thanks to Scott Davenport for nominating Brad Pitt as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Charles Barkley

Hall of Famer and 11-time NBA all-star Charles Barkley won the MPV in 1993 and played in two Olympic games, including on the historic "Dream Team." In honor of its 50th anniversary, the NBA named Barkley as one of its 50 greatest players of all time. Barkley currently provides Emmy Award-winning pre- and post-game analysis for the TNT's NBA programming and has announced his intention to run for Governor of Alabama, his home state, in 2014 as an independent.

In an interview with CNN's Campbell Brown on October 27, 2008, Barkley declared his support for marriage equality, saying, "I am a big gay marriage guy."


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Voice for Equality: Ellen DeGeneres

DeGeneres came out to the public in 1997, becoming the first openly-gay actor to portray an openly-gay character on prime-time television. Her current daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has won 15 Emmy Awards since its 2003 launch. She has hosted the Emmy Awards, was named by the network Showtime as "Funniest Person in America," and was included in Time Magazine's "The World's 100 Most Influential People."

In August 2008, DeGeneres wed her longterm female partner Portia de Rossi and made marriage equality a major theme for her talk show during the fall. She also recorded advertisements for the No on 8 Campaign, urging her viewers to oppose Proposition 8. "I feel that we should all be equal," she insisted.

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Voice for Equality: Slash

Slash (stage name for Saul Hudson) is the former lead guitarist of the American rock band Guns N' Roses and currently with the band Velvet Revolver. In 2007, Slash received a star on the Rock Hall of Fame in honor of his contributions to the music industry. Following the passage of Proposition 8, he recorded a video along with his wife, Peria, in which he plays the Star-Spangled Banner on electric guitar in the background while she says: "I married my sweetheart. You should be able to marry yours, too."

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Voice for Equality: Leonard Nimoy

Famous for portraying the character Spock on Star Trek, for which he earned three Emmy nominations, Nimoy has also appeared in dozens of movies and television shows and has his own star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Nimoy is now an avid photographer.

On October 7, 2008, Nimoy explained his strong opposition to Proposition 8 to the LA Times:
"I believe that gay people have every right to be married and share their lives.... Prop 8 is completely unjust."
Thanks, Jim, for this nomination to "Voices for Equality"!

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Voice for Equality: Wanda Sykes

A stand-up comedian and formerly star of her own shows Wanda at Large and Wanda Does It, Sykes currently co-stars in the New Adventures of Old Christine and has appeared in a number of television shows including HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and Will & Grace. Entertainment Weekly named her one of the 25 Funniest People in America in 2004.

Sykes and her wife married in 2008.

In response to the passage of Proposition 8, Sykes, already an outspoken advocate for gay rights, announced that she had married just a week before. Defending marriage equality against proposition 8, she said; "We shouldn't have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country." On October 31, 2008, Sykes explained her opposition to Proposition 8 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Wanda Sykes was nominated for Voices for Equality by Jon.


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