Chad Griffin, Patrick Murphy and Todd Parr Honored
It was a glorious ending to a historic week. The timing of Family Equality Council’s Los Angeles Awards dinner on February 11, and the choice of star honoree Chad Griffin, could not have been more apropos, coinciding with a major victory on February 7 in the fight for marriage equality.
More than 375 guests at the event cheered with gusto as the leader of the American Foundation for Equal Rights took the stage at Universal Studios’ Globe Theatre to accept props for his momentous work to overturn California’s Proposition 8. Griffin and the crowd were galvanized by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling earlier in the week, which upheld that the 2008 amendment banning same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional.
Griffin, who attended the awards dinner last year, when Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo were honored, accepted his award decreeing, “I will come back for a third time next year, and we will celebrate a Supreme Court decision that affirms that all Americans have equal rights under the law, and that includes the right to marry.”
Executive Director of Family Equality Council, Jennifer Chrisler, echoed Griffin’s sentiments as she declaring that a the 30-year-old organization, whose mission is to connect, support, and represent the one million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents raising two million children in the U.S., will continue to fight for the rights of all families.
“Our honorees have given us renewed hope that future generations will look back on this time and know that this was the moment when we achieved real milestones in changing attitudes and laws so that our families were respected, protected, and celebrated.
As the group reveled in the past week’s victory and reflected on the successes and challenges of its past, kicking off a year-long celebration of its 30th anniversary, a resounding sentiment among the leadership, members and supporters present was that hiring Chrisler seven years ago was one of their chief accomplishments.
Chrisler, who along with her partner Cheryl Jacques , is mother of twin boys and expectant mom-to-be of a third child, proudly displayed her baby bump and took to the podium modestly waving off the cheers of her adoring constituents and a glowing introduction proclaiming her “Mother of the LGBT family movement.”
“We will not stop until all our families, our children, and their children, are treated equal,” avowed Chrisler.
Most of the evening was G-rated, excepting the remarks by writer/director and activist Rob Reiner, who presented the award to Griffin, asserting that Griffin’s court challenge took big balls. Reiner proceeded to ask Griffin’s partner in the audience to affirm that they were indeed, very big, prompting family size laughs from the crowd.
Other honorees were former Pennsylvania Representative Patrick Murphy, who helped lead opposition to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and Todd Parr, the award-winning children’s book author. Special guests and awards presenters included “Modern Family” stars Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the latter who performed a humorous tune about the joys of every day parenting.
The event raised more than $400,000, including $93,000 pledged during the night by attendees and a matching donation of $75,000 by a major donor.
As would be expected of an organization of parents, who needed to get back home to relieve babysitters, the well-produced program went along at a snappy pace, ending before 10 pm, with guests taking home a copy of honoree Parr’s delightful bedtime read, The Family Book.