EXCLUSIVE: The 24th annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles has set its honorees: former President Bill Clinton will receive GLAAD’s first Advocate for Change Award; and Steve Warren, the top Hollywood attorney, will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award.
The event will be held at the JW Marriott on April 20 and there will be more excitement than usual in the air as this is right in the midst of Supreme Court deliberations regarding the constitutionality of Prop 8 and DOMA, which will have profound impact on gay marriage and whether equal protections extend to gays and lesbians. That landmark decision is expected to be delivered in June. Big star power is expected at the event. Among the confirmed presenters so far are Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence. They are all Warren’s clients.
Clinton is being honored for a long track record of pressing tolerance. In 2011, Clinton advocated for marriage equality in New York, stating that “for more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York’s welcome must include marriage equality.” In 2012, he joined the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families in working against North Carolina’s proposed Amendment One to ban marriage and civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Most recently, he called for the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in an op-ed for The Washington Post. During his administration, Clinton became the first U.S. President to appoint out gay and lesbian people to all levels of government. He appointed more than 150 including James Hormel as America’s first openly gay ambassador. During the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, his administration convened the first White House Conference on the epidemic, created the national AIDS Policy Coordinator post, and expanded funding for research. In 2002, his Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) began as the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in the developing world.
“President Clinton’s support of the LGBT community and recognition that DOMA, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, is unconstitutional and should be struck down shows that the political landscape continues to change in favor of LGBT equality,” said GLAAD’s Wilson Cruz. “Leaders and allies like President Clinton are critical to moving our march for equality forward.”
Warren, a class act, has been practicing entertainment law for 27 years and is partner in the firm Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller, LLP. He served as the first out gay man on the Board of Trustees for his daughter’s schools, the Center for Early Education, and currently serves as the first out gay man on the Board of Trustees at the Archer School for Girls. Warren joined GLAAD’s Board of Directors in 2010, and currently serves on the Executive Committee.
“Steve Warren’s work and career have opened doors for out professionals across the entertainment industry,” said Wilson Cruz. “In addition to advocating for LGBT people, he has continuously mobilized a large base of high-profile allies to help bring about social change,” said Cruz.
The Stephen F. Kolzak Award is named after a successful casting director who devoted the last part of his life to raising awareness in the entertainment industry about the discrimination faced by gay and HIV-positive people. The award is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for our community. Previous recipients include Ellen DeGeneres, Sir Ian McKellen, Bill Condon, Wanda Sykes, Alan Ball and Robert Greenblatt.