With both Joe Biden and DOMA-shattering icon Edie Windsor unable to attend, it fell upon Jennifer Lopez to shoulder the burden of starpower at the annual Human Rights Campaign gala Saturday night.
Not a problem!
“I love you,” she murmured as the crowd of 3,400 stood and whooped in her honor Saturday night, twinkling with diva sincerity in a revealing lacy gown. Another surge of cheers. “I love you, too.”
The superstar came to the Washington Convention Center to receive the gay-rights group’s Ally for Equality award at a dinner that felt like a victory lap, following Supreme Court victories on same-sex marriage. Luminaries included Gloria Steinem, Julian Bond, Tim Gunn and Prop 8 and DOMA plaintiff’s lawyers David Boies, Ted Olson and Roberta Kaplan. (Biden cancelled because of shutdown demands; Windsor, 84, missed the party to headline the New Yorker Festival after its much-read story in which she dished about her sex life with late longtime partner Thea Spyer.)
Lopez hailed “my gay and lesbian friends” for helping the dinner raise $2.5 million and declared solidarity: “I’m a single mom, raising my own so-called non-traditional family” — before pivoting to tout “The Fosters,” the new ABC Family drama she produces about a same-sex couple raising foster kids. (More product placement: Her stars, Teri Polo and Sherri Saum, were given a moment at the podium; the gala gift bag included pens and notebooks promoting the show.) While she felt instantly that the show was “groundbreaking and timely,” she had a brief moment of fearing controversy, she said. Indeed, she weathered a brief protest by the conservative One Million Moms — “and I couldn’t have been more proud.”
Okay, J-Lo. — we promise, we’ll tune in one of these days! It fell to auctioneer Dana Goldberg to help the crowd find some laughs. “For all you young gays out there, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. “ Marriage, she joked, should be like handguns: “There should be a waiting period.”
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