Just days after a federal appellate court ruling overturned Proposition 8, the timing couldn’t have been better for the Family Equality Council to honor one of the key figures in the fight: political consultant Chad Griffin, co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

“We filed this (suit) not only to win inside the courtroom but to win in the court of public opinion,” Griffin told the stars, same-sex parents and creative types who filled a Universal Studios theater Saturday. Among those in the crowd were Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Dustin Lance Black, Max Mutchnick, Erik Hyman and Ryan Murphy, along with the plaintiffs in the case, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo.

“We are running the last leg of the civil-rights race,” said Rob Reiner, Griffin’s longtime client who helped hatch the idea of taking on Prop. 8 at the federal level. Also honored were former Rep. Patrick Murphy and children’s book author Todd Parr.