Vanguard Award recipient Kerry Washington fires up GLAAD audience

Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington GLAAD

LOS ANGELES — “Scandal” star Kerry Washington fired up the crowd at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday evening, delivering a powerful speech equating the fight for nationwide marriage equality to the fight against bans on interracial marriage.

Accepting GLAAD’s Vanguard award, Washington reminded, “In 1997, when Ellen (DeGeneres) made her famous declaration, it took place in an America where the Defense of Marriage Act had just passed months earlier, and civil unions were not legal in any state. But also remember that just 30 years before that, the Supreme Court was deciding that the ban against interracial marriage was unconstitutional.”

“Up until then, heterosexual people of different races couldn’t marry who they wanted to marry either. So, when black people today say that they don’t believe in gay marriage … the first thing that I say is, ‘Please don’t let anybody try to get you to vote against your own best interest by feeding you messages of hate.’ And then I say, ‘People use to say things about that about you and your love.'”

“We can’t say that we believe in each others’ fundamental humanity and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each others existence and the truth of each others hearts. We must be allies. And we must be allies in this business because to be represented is to be humanized. And as long as anyone, anywhere is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake and we are all vulnerable.”


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The GLAAD Vanguard Award, presented annually by GLAAD to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community.

GLADD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said “Scandal” star Washington was chosen by the group because, “She’s done quite a bit for the LGBT community and she’s a phenomenal spokeswoman for us. And she’s got our back. And she always has.”

Previous recipients include Jennifer Lopez, Josh Hutcherson, Liza Minnelli, Cher, Shirley MacLaine, Whoopi Goldberg, and Elizabeth Taylor.

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