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Sean Penn Takes Home
Best Actor for

Sean Penn Takes Home
Best Actor for


Marriage equality took center stage twice at Sunday night's Academy Awards. Both Best Actor winner Sean Penn and Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black pleaded for equal rights during their acceptance speeches.

"You, Commie, homo-loving sons of guns," Sean Penn said to laughs as he took to the stage to accept the Oscar for Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his work in the biopic Milk at Sunday's Academy Awards.

The outspoken activist won for playing an outspoken activist and, true to form, quickly changed his tone and took the opportunity to make a political statement in support of marriage equality.

"For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think it's a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the great shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support," Penn said to a standing ovation. "We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

It was the second time Sunday evening that marriage equality took center stage. Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black won for Best Original Screenplay, and in an emotional speech , he said that learning about Harvey Milk as he was growing up gave him the hope that one day he might fall in love and get married.

Bringing the legacy of Harvey Milk to life drew massive attention from the gay press long before the film even opened. But the film took on a deeper meaning for gay audiences following the passing of Prop. 8 in California.

Milk was all but shut out of the Golden Globes last month. The film, one of the year's best reviewed, managed to score only one nomination - for Sean Penn. Milk was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Black went into Sunday night's ceremonies the favored winner for penning Milk 's screenplay. Penn was also given a narrow edge over Mickey Rourke for his work in The Wrestler to take home the Best Actor prize. (

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