(LOS ANGELES) Lambda Legal is excited and honored to announce The New Normal’s Justin Barthaas this year’s official honoree for the Celebrity in the Spotlight Liberty Award at the 2013 West Coast Liberty Awards. The honorees, which include Bartha, the Magic Johnson Foundation, Super Bowl Champ Brendon Ayanbadejo and community leader Eric Webber,will join host Lance Bass as Lambda Legal celebrates 40 years of making the case for equality at the London Hotel in West Hollywood on Thursday, June 13, 2013.
Lambda Legal is on the frontlines fighting for equality, working in support of the challenges to California’s Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), heard in the United States Supreme Court earlier this year. Lambda Legal’s amicus briefs join dozens of other briefs filed – including the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice, the State of California and more than 250 businesses from across the country. Lambda Legal is the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization whose mission is to achieve the full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people and people living with HIV.
“I was very touched when I found out that Lambda wanted to honor me at their West Coast Liberty Awards,” says Bartha. “I am happy to help in the fight for equality in any way I can whether that be personally or professionally on a show like New Normal.”
Lambda Legal is honoring the New Normal and star of the upcoming film CBGB and known for his role the Hangover films, for embracing his role and taking a stand in the fight for equality. In addition to his advocacy for equality, The New Normal was also recognized at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards for “their thoughtful depiction of gay characters,” where Bartha also shared his personal story of his brother’s coming out.
“We are so excited to have Justin as our Liberty Award honoree. The work he does for equality and his willingness to share his personal story is truly commendable and we are so pleased to be able to honor him publicly,” says Rick Davis, Lambda Legal Western Regional Director.
The West Coast Liberty Awards is an annual opportunity for Lambda Legal to recognize and thank individuals and organizations whose public advocacy and work has furthered the cause of Lambda Legal’s vision of equality.
Lambda Legal is proud to honor Magic Johnson and acknowledge the 22-year efforts of the Magic Johnson Foundation to combat the epidemic of HIV/AIDS through public education, direct service and nationwide advocacy. Johnson has stood as a stalwart advocate for equality, participating in campaigns to wipe out homophobia and compassionate, parental support in the coming out of his son, Earvin Johnson, Jr.
Lambda Legal will also honor Super Bowl Champ Brendon Ayanbadejo for his courageous support for LGBT equality. As an NFL player, he brings a fresh voice to the movement. Much like Lambda Legal first did 40 years ago, Ayanbadejo took his passion to the courts, co-filing an Amicus Brief in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case, currently before the United States Supreme Court. Ayanbadejo has since said that he has received widespread support in the world of football.
As the immediate past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), Eric Webber is being recognized for his tireless advocacy for LGBT individuals in the legal profession that began 30 years ago when he was a law student at the University of Chicago.
“Eric Webber has long been a trailblazer for LGBT professionals, especially in the legal profession,” says Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart. “Many LGBT lawyers today owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Eric’s tireless work promoting their interests.”
The 2013 Honorary Committee includes Lily Tomlin, Dot-Marie Jones, Alison Pill, Joshua Malina, Bellamy Young, Michael Steger, Madison Hildebrand, Jai Rodriguez, Sara Rue, Grant Bowler, Rex Lee, RJ Mitte, Garcelle Beauvais, Janina Gavankar, Eva Marcille Pigford, Tony Denison and others.