Mayor stars at Sunset Strip fundraiser to defeat Proposition 8

A quarter of a million dollars is raised to fight the proposed anti-gay amendment.

Sunday night at the Mondrian Hotel’s Skybar brought out a sizeable chunk of gay Hollywood and those who love them (and also recognize their power.) The filled-to-capacity event raised close to $250,000 to benefit  Equality California and Love Honor Cherish, two key organizations that have mobilized to defeat Proposition 8, which would amend the California state constitution to eliminate marriage rights for same sex couples.

Chad Allen, Heather Tom, Eric McCormack, Dana Delaney, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Thomas Roberts, Katherine Joosten, Eduardo Xo and Loni Anderson  were some of the boldface names in attendance.

But it was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the true star of the evening, who wowed the crowd not only with his announcement of his $25,000 donation to the campaign to defeat Proposition 8, but also with his passionate speech that embraced the gay community and took aim at the backers of prop 8, calling their intent “bigotry.”

Villariagosa linked the cause to defeat prop 8 to the civil rights movement, recalling his outsider status as a Latino who had to fight his way into a city politic dominated by a white world. He cajoled and coaxed the crowd into giving more than they already had given; in this case $100 was the minimum donation to attend the event. The mayor also made light of the whiplash nature of his evening, having come directly from a function at the Reagan Presidential Library prior to the Mondrian fundraiser.

A silent auction was an aspect of the benefit, with everything from a Gus Van Zant-signed script of his forthcoming film, Milk, (about Harvey Milk, the gay San Francisco council member who was gunned down because of his championing of gay rights legislation) to a noninvasive  “lipo-smoothing” session ( I don’t even want to know what that is) to a wedding cake with same sex “toppers.”

Somehow, I didn’t fall into the pool in the dizzying swirl of elites. But in an election season where the future of the country is at stake, the point was also made that my future as a gay man in California is  also up for grabs.

More coverage at Out in Hollywood.

‘Vote NO on Prop 8’ fund-raiser this Sunday

Equality California and Love Honor Cherish are having a fund-raiser this Sunday October 12th aimed at defeating the anti-gay Proposition 8, a ballot measure this November that, if it were to pass, would deny same sex couples the right to marry in California by actually writing discrimination and bigotry into the California constitution.

The event will happen at the Mondrian Hotel’s Skybar in West Hollywood on Sunday from 6 PM to 9 PM. Tickets can be had for $100 and 100% of the ticket price goes to defeating Prop 8 on November 4th.

Money is urgently needed NOW. “Religious” conservative-backed Prop 8 supporters have far surpassed Equality California and other opponents of Prop 8 in fund-raising, pouring it into TV ads filled with outright lies and distortions aimed at appealing to ignorance and bigotry. ( Take a look at one of the ads.)

You can buy tickets here. And you can download a PDF of the invite here and see the long list of Angelenos, celebrated (you know, celebrities) and otherwise, who will be there.

If it’s at all within your means, it is a very worthwhile cause. I’m not saying everyone can afford it; but if you can afford $200 jeans and a $300 iPhone, then you can afford a donation to fight bigotry in California.

If a C-note is outside your budget, please give whatever you can at Equality California’s site or at No On Prop 8. We can’t allow victory to embolden backward zealots.

But whatever you do, VOTE NO on Prop 8 on November 4th.

Proposition 8 was placed on the ballot by the anti-gay “Protect Marriage” group, an affiliation of so called “religious” conservatives which claims to be seeking to “restore marriage” and “protect children,” according to the scant information on their web site explaining who they are. (There is no “about” link. Pretty telling, no?)

Their real intent is to deny basic rights to gay people. Marriage and children have nothing to do with the goal of these bigots.

Equality California is a civil rights organization that advocates for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in California.

Love, Honor and Cherish is an independent, grassroots organization whose purpose is to defeat Proposition 8.

Standing up to bigots isn’t always cheap or easy (like me.) I’ll be there with the boyfriend in tow. Look for us and say “hello.” (He’s the cute redhead; I’m the silver-haired Slavic fox.)

Vote NO on Prop 8 Gala; Sunday, October 12, 2008, 6 to 10 p.m.; Skybar, Mondrian Hotel, 8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Tickets $100.