1. 1. Ben Cohen, rugby player
A British professional rugby player, Cohen founded The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, dedicated to combatting bullying and homophobia.
2. 2. Lisa Lampanelli, comedian
When she heard the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church would be protesting outside one of her appearances, she told TMZ she would donate $1,000 for each protester to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. She ended up donating $50,000.
3. 3. Hudson Taylor, wrestler and coach
A former NCAA All-American wrestler and current coach a Columbia, Taylor founded Athlete Ally, an organization whose mission is “educating, encouraging and empowering straight athlete allies to combat homophobia and transphobia in sports.”
4. 4. & 5. Theodore Olson and David Boies, lawyers
Olsen, a conservative and Boies, a liberal argued against each other in the surpreme court case Bush v. Gore. The unlikely pair teamed up to argue the case against California’s Proposition 8 before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In February 2012, they won, and the court declared Prop 8 unconstitutional.
5. 6. Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP
This May, the NAACP voted to endorse gay marriage rights. When discussing the organization’s decision, Jealous spoke of how he felt a personal connection to the issue or marriage rights, as his own parents’ interracial marriage was illegal at the time in their homestate of Maryland.
6. 7. Zach Wahls, student
When Iowa held public hearings on a proposed gay marriage ban, 19 year old college student Wahls gave an impassioned, touching speech before the court about his life with lesbian mothers. The video of his moving speech became a viral sensation with over 16 million views. As an eagle scout, he’s also petitioned the Boy Scouts to change their policy on excluding gays.
7. 8. Josh Hutcherson, actor
The Hunger Games actor has spoken publiclly about his two gay uncles who died from AIDS, and how that has shaped his support for the gay community. He was recently was given a GLAAD Media Award, and has worked for the Straight But Not Narrow campaign that encourages straight allies in young people.
8. 9. Barack Obama, president
Last month, Obama told Robin Roberts in an ABC interview that he believes same sex couples should have the right to marry. Boom.
9. 10. Dick Cheney, former vice president
In 2009, Dick Cheney said that he believes “freedom means freedom for all” when asked about gay marriage. Just today it was announced that his daughter Mary, a lesbian, married to her longtime partner. Congrats to Mary!
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