On February 11, we were thrilled to celebrate our many victories over the last year and kick-off our 30th anniversary celebration at our annual Los Angeles Awards Dinner. We were fortunate enough to pay tribute to three incredible people—Congressman Patrick Murphy, Todd Parr, and Chad Griffin. Guests followed along with enjoyment as our presenters – Commander John Armantrout (retired Navy, new Family Equality Council Board Member), Eric Stonestreet (“Cam” from Modern Family), and Rob Reiner.
Each of these inspiring honorees has made an invaluable impact on our fight for full equality. The evening opened with the presentation of Congressman Murphy’s award, given in recognition of his fierce determination in leading the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the discriminatory ban on openly gay and lesbian officers serving in our armed forces. While there is still much to be done, Congressman Murphy’s work has helped many LGBT moms and dads to serve their country openly without the constant fear of putting their families in jeopardy. Following dinner, our second honoree, Todd Parr took the stage to receive his award, given in recognition of the inclusive and uplifting messages he incorporates into each of his original children’s books. Todd’s work inspires children to be kind and to celebrate their differences—lessons that are important for all children to learn but bear special meaning for the children of LGBT parents. Finally, fresh off the heels of a landmark victory in the legal challenge to Prop 8 in the 9th circuit court of appeals, our third honoree Chad Griffin closed the night by accepting his award from personal friend and AFER co-founder, Rob Reiner, who helped us in thanking Chad for all that he has done in advancing the rights of our families and bringing us a step closer to full equality.
In addition to our inspiring honorees we were fortunate enough to have the help of designer Bully Butchkavitz who transformed the empty theatre into a stunning display of lively art, fresh flowers, and true ambience. An especially heartfelt element of our décor came in the form of gorgeous family photos taken by the talented Ann Ploeger and proudly displayed on the back wall of our stage, along with vibrant prints of our honoree Todd Parr’s original artwork that were available for purchase through our silent auction. Our 350+ guests enjoyed musical performances by Virginia McDonald, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
It was truly a fantastic evening, and thanks to the help of our generous donors and friends of family equality we were able to raise over $400,000 in vital funds that will carry our work forward into 2012. To those of you who were there to celebrate with us, we thank you. To those of you who were not, we hope to see you next year!