Americans can't let discrimination get "rebranded," warned television personality Kelly Ripa, who on Saturday won a GLAAD Award for Excellence in Media.
In her acceptance speech in New York, the co-host of LIVE with Kelly and Michael said that even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of nationwide marriage equality, "It must not end there, equality means equality across the board. We must not allow discrimination to be rebranded and to be used against people in other facets of society, including housing, employment, and education."
She didn't use the words, but activists claim that rebranding is coming in the form of proposed "religious freedom" laws like the one turned back in Indiana. They're alternately being called "license to discriminate" bills.
Ever the engaging morning show host, the rest of the speech was mostly light-hearted. She was introduced by her friend, out CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who kidded that Ripa is so genuine on television she's not afraid to talk about going clubbing the night before at a gay bar.
"Even the gay ones don't talk about that on the air," he said, "and there's a lot of gay morning hosts."
Ripa acknowledged it felt odd "that I should be celebrated for treating people like people." But she talked about the fact the world has many more strides toward acceptance left to do.
Still, she's optimistic. Pointing out her kids in the audience, Ripa said "they are genuinely puzzled" sometimes by stories of discrimination.
In a statement, GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis hailed Ripa as part of the reason for optimism. "For over a decade, Kelly Ripa has greeted millions of viewers with messages of acceptance and inclusion," she said. "By sharing inclusive stories with her audience and loudly voicing support for her LGBT friends and fans, Kelly is helping to drive acceptance forward."
Watch the introduction and acceptance speeches below: