×

An LGBT Night Highlights Hollywood’s Might

In the deadpan tone inherited from his father, Rob Reiner calls himself a member of the “gay adjacent community” — a riff, but as he and others showed at the Human Rights Campaign dinner on March 23, there’s a lot of value in location, location, location.

On the minds of just about everyone was Tuesday’s Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8. It was in November of 2008, after Prop. 8 passed, that Reiner, his wife Michele and communications strategists Chad Griffin and Kristina Schake were at the Beverly Hills Hotel when a chance meeting with one of the Reiners’ acquaintances led them to Ted Olson and, as it turned out, the filing of a federal case challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The case has been financed by a hefty dose of Hollywood money, including an initial $1.5 million each from David Geffen (who is gay) and Steve Bing (another gay adjacent).

“Everything is moving in the right direction,” Reiner told the audience at downtown Los Angeles’ J.W. Marriott. “This is inevitable.” Confident of a favorable opinion, Reiner, who will be in D.C. this week, also noted the swing in public opinion to what he calls “the last piece of the civil rights puzzle.” He added,  “We have nationalized this issue to the point where we are at 58%” in a recent ABC News poll.

Popular on Variety

Griffin, who is now the president of HRC, devoted his remarks to L.A.’s role in the LGBT  civil rights movement, including a 1967 bar raid on Silverlake’s Black Cat Tavern that was followed by a protest, predating Stonewall. Two men arrested and convicted for kissing in the raid appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which did not take their case. With what is before the high court now, Griffin noted, “now, finally, a greater victory is in sight.”

Historical firsts didn’t escape noticed. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) noted how he is the state’s first openly gay congressman, and Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire noted how her state was among the first to pass marriage equality at the ballot box, along with marijuana legalization. She noted that Washington “was the only state where you can get high and get married on the same day.”

Among the honorees was Disney/ABC, which earned a perfect score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index but also was cited for a line of shows featuring LGBT characters, reaching back to Billy Crystal on “Soap” in the 1970s to Chaz Bono on “Dancing with the Stars” last year.  Disney’s Anne Sweeney talked up an upcoming ABC Family series “The Fosters, about a lesbian mom raising foster kids. Primetime’s ever-present number of LGBT storylines, she said, “reflect the real lives of our audience.”

That will be the first of its kind for a network that still runs Pat Robertson‘s “700 Club,” required by contractual obligation. He, too, will be gay adjacent, whether he likes it or not.

More Voices

  • Sam Mendes Bong Joon Ho 1917

    Final Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win in the Major Categories?

    The 92nd Academy Awards are almost here… For films like “Joker” and “Marriage Story,” the journey to the Oscars began five months ago with their premieres in Venice. “1917” had the least amount of time on the campaign trail: The Sam Mendes war movie didn’t start screening until late November. In the end, however, it [...]

  • Harriet Movie BTS

    Academy Needs to Start Taking Chances With Noms; Rewards Will Follow (Column)

    Throughout its history, the Academy Awards has been subject to intense criticism for the issues it embraces — and ignores. This year’s uproar over the lack of diversity among nominations in the highest-profile awards categories is the latest example. This failure reflects a chronic dearth of opportunity at Hollywood’s top artistic and financial levels. The milestone nominations [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandolorian

    Media Giants Make Smaller Moves With an Eye Toward Future Gains in Streaming Era

    Maybe the empire can strike back. Or at least strike anew. Over the past few months, a number of developments have emerged for traditional media companies that indicate a spirit of reinvention and experimentation is spreading across the industry. There’s a new willingness to take a hard look at long-standing operations and make big and [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Booksmart BTS

    Olivia Wilde on Her Move From Acting to Directing With 'Booksmart'

    Olivia Wilde began acting in 2004 when she was 20 years old. It never occurred to her that she might also enjoy stepping behind the lens. “I always wanted to make movies and be a part of the moviemaking process,” she tells me. “I always assumed acting was the way in, because for many young [...]

  • Oscar Statue Oscars Placeholder

    Oscars 2020 Predictions: Who Will Get Nominated?

    The Oscar race is on. And it’s about to get a lot more intense when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announces the nominations for the 92nd Oscars on Jan. 13. Golden Globes shutout “The Irishman” is favored to earn several nods, as will “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which went home [...]

  • Golden Globes Analysis Oscar Race

    Why Golden Globes Will Likely Have Little Effect on Oscar Nominations (Column)

    With the Globes now behind us and Oscar noms rapidly approaching on Jan. 13, what should we be paying attention to in Hollywood’s biggest film awards race? Surefire bets are Globe winners Renée Zellweger (“Judy”), who already has one Oscar, and Brad Pitt, who should garner his third acting nomination for his work in Quentin [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content