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Bill Clinton honored at GLADD Awards

Former President Bill Clinton received the first advocate for change award at the annual GLAAD Media Awards, which celebrates inclusive representations of the LGBT community in the media.

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Former US President Bill Clinton speaks on stage after he received the advocate for change award during the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at JW Marriott Los Angeles in L.A.

Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

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NBC's sitcom "The New Normal," FX's thriller "American Horror Story: Asylum" and NBC's daytime drama "Days of Our Lives" took home top TV honors at the 24th annual GLAAD Media Awards held Saturday night in Los Angeles.

The GLAAD awards pay tribute to "inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives."

The event, hosted by actress-producer-director Drew Barrymore, boasted such Hollywood heavyweights as presenters Jennifer Morrison, Charlize Theron, Betty White and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Other winners included "Perks of Being a Wallflower," which was named outstanding film: wide release. Former President Bill Clinton was given the first advocate for change award.

On the arrivals line, longtime Clinton friend, Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen, defended the former president's controversial honor. Under Clinton's administration came the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage, as well as the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy.

"Actually, ("don't ask, don't tell") was a sorrow for him," Steenburgen said. "So, I think he's spent a large part of his life making up for that. But I tell you this: He's never not had his heart in the right place, in terms of the gay community."

Many who walked the press gauntlet shared personal stories. Actor Justin Bartha said a brother's coming out moved him both personally and professionally.

"It was an inspiring moment — I'm sure for him and definitely me and my whole family," Bartha noted. "So, it was at the forefront of my mind when looking at (the role of half of a gay couple in "The New Normal")."

"Kyle XY" actor Matt Dallas discussed his decision to come out publicly earlier this year. MSNBC news anchor Thomas Roberts talked about the recent marriage to his male partner of 12 years. Entertainment blogger Perez Hilton detailed the challenges of being the single gay parent of newly adopted child.

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And transgendered Chaz Bono expressed hopes for the gay lesbian bisexual transgender community's future.

"I mean, I think the goal always has to be equality in all aspects under the law," he said. "You're never going to eradicate discrimination. We see that with other minorities. Racism is still, unfortunately, alive and well. But equal protection under the law makes a huge difference. So, I think, for me, that is the goal, that is the thing to strive for."

Additional 2013 GLAAD Media Awards were presented in New York on March 16. The final awards will be presented in San Francisco May 11.

On the web: www.glaad.org

Follow Michael Cidoni Lennox at www.twitter.com/MikeCLennox


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