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HRC's L.A. gala
brings out the stars and speeches

HRC's L.A. gala
brings out the stars and speeches

Franken honored, Gore gives keynote speech.

At its 2006 Los Angeles gala on Saturday, the LGBT lobbyist group Human Rights Campaign honored luminaries like Al Franken and Torie Osborn, raised thousands of dollars for its political causes, featured speeches and performances by Al Gore, Charo, Natasha Bedingfield, and L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and revealed the three Senate battles it intends to win this November.

Gay-friendly radio host and author Al Franken was handed the humanitarian award, lesbian political activist Torie Osborn was honored with the community service award for her work with Los Angeles's philanthropic organization Liberty Hill, gay MTV executive Brian Graden was given the corporate equality award for his gay-inclusive programming and his role as president of LGBT cable channel Logo, and former vice president Al Gore served as keynote speaker.

"For God's sake, [gays and lesbians are] asking for monogamy and military service, is that too much to ask for?" Gore said, commenting on how controversial the issues of same-sex marriage and gays in the military have become in the United States.

HRC president Joe Solmonese told the audience his group is determined to unseat conservative Ohio senator Mike DeWine, fervent Bush supporter Mark Kennedy, and gay-baiting Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in the November elections--all Republicans.

"[The HRC is] going to Pennsylvania to get rid of that mean-spirited, hatemongering fool Rick Santorum," Solmonese said.

Lesbian California state senator Sheila Kuehl handed ex-girlfriend Osborn her award, actress Tori Spelling did the same for Graden, and comedian Caroline Rhea entertained the audience before bringing out Franken.

"I'm not a direct member of the GLBT community," Rhea pointed out. "But I have had a BLT." (The Advocate)

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