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Logo network to honor gay rights leaders; First episode of 'Trailblazers' to feature Edith Windsor

BY DAVID BAUDER
AP TELEVISION WRITER

NEW YORK -- The Logo network next month will launch what it hopes will become an annual televised event saluting pioneers in the gay rights movement, with the woman who challenged the federal Defense of Marriage act as the first honoree.

"Trailblazers" will air June 26, a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Edie Windsor brought the case to the courts after getting a $363,000 federal tax bill following her partner's death.

Logo will tape the show a few days in advance from Manhattan's Cathedral of St. John the Divine, one of the first churches in New York to offer same-sex weddings.

Besides Windsor, Logo will also honor her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan. Logo will feature three or four more honorees, some from the world of entertainment, said Stephen Friedman, network president, on Wednesday. Those names will be announced later.

The group A Great Big World and others will perform, he said.

"We want it to be both honoring the trailblazers and a night of great entertainment," Friedman said.

Friedman is also president of MTV, Logo's sister network at Viacom Inc. Like other networks, MTV is well aware of the power of big events to drive viewership; the MTV Video Music Awards is frequently its most popular telecast of the year. Logo, with a programming lineup aimed at gays and lesbians, hopes that "Trailblazers" can be a similar signature moment for its audience.

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