Ellen buys airtime to plead for gay marriage

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A leading lesbian entertainer has bought $100,000 (£58,300) of TV airtime in California to ask the state’s voters to support gay marriage.

Ellen DeGeneres was one of several high profile Hollywood stars to marry in after the State Supreme Court decided in May that gay and lesbian couples could do so legally.

In her TV ads Ms DeGeneres, who came out as a lesbian in real life and in her sitcom Ellen in 1997, will say that the supporters of a ban on gay marriage are “twisting the truth.”

Proposition 8 is an initiative measure on the 2008 California General Election ballot on November 4th.

It would amend the state Constitution to “eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry.”

In May the California Supreme Court overturned a ban on same-sex marriages in the state.

The Court voted 4 to 3 to strike down the ban.

Opponents of gay marriage raised more than a million signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot.

Following her wedding to actress Portia de Rossi in August, Ms DeGeneres made a plea to other Californian’s to vote no to the proposition.

“I got to do something this year I never thought I’d ever be able to do: I got married. It was the happiest day of my life,” she said.

“There are people out there raising millions of dollars to try and take that right away from me.

“You’ve seen their ads on TV. They’re twisting the truth, and they’re trying to scare you.

“I believe in fairness. I believe in compassion. I believe in equality for all people. Proposition 8 does not.

“Please, please, vote NO on Prop. 8.”

Several celebrities have donated money to the campaign to reject Proposition 8.

Mayor of LA Antonio Villaraigoso, Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Pete Wentz and TR Knight have all made contributions.

When Ellen DeGeneres came out eleven years ago in an episode of her self-titled sitcom, she made history, scored a ratings landslide and almost instantly became a target of the Christian Right.

Her series was cancelled a year later due to sagging ratings.

DeGeneres appeared on the April 14th 1997 cover of Time magazine with the headline, “Yep, I’m Gay.”

Her onscreen character, Ellen Morgan came out during the April 30th 1997, episode of the ABC sitcom Ellen.

The episode went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing.