Penn Pleas for Gay Rights, Rourke at Oscars

Actor asks same-sex marriage detractors to "anticipate their great shame"

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Mar 2, 2009  |  Updated 12:18 PM PDT
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Penn thanked the "commie and homo lovers," but what about the commies and homos themselves?

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Sean Penn hasn't gotten any taller, but he's certainly grown up a bit.

Penn seized the opportunity to make an actually relevant political point after accepting the best actor award for his portrayal of murdered San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

Of course, politics are typical at Hollywood's prom night -- Penn opened the speech by playfully admonishing his peers with "You commie-, homo-loving sons a' guns."

Milk, about the life and times of the first openly gay man to be elected to political office in the United States, was a passionate re-telling of the story of the real Milk's successful election as the first openly homosexual politician in American history amidst a larger struggle for gay rights.

Penn used his speech to drive home the point about equal rights:

"Finally, for those who saw the signs of hater as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban on gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grand children's eyes if they continue that way of support.

We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

Earlier in the speech Penn joked about how hard he made it to appreciate him at times.

Might be because after making the passionate appeal about Proposition 8, the hotly contested ballot measure banning same-sex marriage that California voters approved last fall, he ended his remark by declaring how hard America makes it for sensitive artists like his pal Mickey Rourke.

Ah, still the same Spicoli.

Jackson West is a Bay Area freelancer who would like to thank the academy for a break from jury duty today.

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