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Not 'second-class': Actor Jonathan D. Lovitz from South Florida tells judge he can't be impartial juror

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Jonathan D. Lovitz has always been something of a drama queen.

As a senior at J.P. Taravella High in Coral Springs in 2002, he won The Miami Herald’s Silver Knight Award for Drama. He’s about to star in a new reality TV series on the gay-oriented Logo network. And last week, he made national news after telling a New York judge he couldn’t serve as an impartial juror – because as a gay man unable to legally marry a same-sex partner he’s “a second-class” citizen.

“The room was silent for a moment . The judge said, ‘Well, I asked for candor,’’’ says Lovitz, 26, an actor-dancer who moved to New York after graduation from University of Florida. “A lot of people said I never even thought of this. They gave me high fives. And there were plenty of people in the [courtroom] who were rolling their eyes and giving me an uggh.’’

Lovitz was excused. After the March 1 incident, he posted his story on Facebook and soon had received more than 200 emails and messages.

“When I saw the link, I thought it was amazing. I sat there and gave a little cheer,’’ said Eric Wolff-Sewell, a New Jersey potter who posted a congratulatory comment on Lovitz’s Facebook wall. “The next time I get called to jury duty, I’ll do the same thing. We don’t have the same equality. How can we be expected to participate as equal members of the community when we don’t have all the same rights as everyone else.?’’

Lovitz, who was interviewed last week on MSNBC, says he “ never set out to be an activist of any kind.”

“I never intended for this to be something that crossed over,’’ he says. Here we are and this movement is being discussed all over the country. Someone asked, ‘Did you think the courtroom was really the right place to start this dialog? I said there’s really no bad place to talk about equality.’’

Lovitz’s show-biz career has begun to take off. He’s toured in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar. Last year, he performed a star strip in Broadway Bares, the big annual fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Next month, he’ll star as the male dating expert in a new Logo reality show, Setup Squad, which Lovitz says has “huge straight appeal.”

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So does this lead to gay people not having to pay income taxes? Or less income tax due to less rights?

Ummm...drama queen is right. Second class citizen? Give him a few vacation days in the Saudi Kingdom prancing around like a fairy and see if his head stays attached to his body. Good grief - marry whomever you want, the government shouldn't have aythihg to do with it! Gay or straight, keep government out of personal contracts, unless it's to enforce them. And knowing the longevity of most gay relationships, they'll be clogging the courts soon- LOL!

He was great on Saturday Night Live. It seems like he is going nutty.

This guy has the same right to marry a woman as I do.

If you consider yourself as a second class citizen, then do not ask for any rights. Those rights are for those who support the values of our community, such as the right to vote. Now you don't want to take the time to sit on a jury. If I were being tried, then I would not like a nut case on the jury anyway. Voting is one of our greatest privileges, and a duty. Help make this a better country.

as a gay man unable to legally marry a same-sex partner he’s “a second-class” citizen.

Correct! Skip the court and put him in the Army!


"Traditional" marriage in the Old Testament is

polygamy. Marry whomever you want with equal marital

rights.

(I'm amazed that any gays would want to be Republicans

or Christians. "Hit me again." "Harder".)

What a waste of nice abs....

The way to change the world is to change people's minds. As more and more people openly discuss the fact that "God" and "Allah" are completely imaginary, the world becomes a better place. The people who believe in "religion" look sillier and sillier. Eventually, religion becomes a fringe activity that is meaningless.

Whenever anyone says "God," we should reply, "God is imaginary."

Everyone has the right to MARRY a person of the opposite sex as him or her. This individual cannot be a mother, or a woman, but for a sex change. Is that denying him his civil rights? The sound bite sounds "cute," but it is absurd. The point is, the Judge could've made this idiot stay and serve; the issue was not about him being homosexual; the issue was whether he could be fair and impartial in rendering a verdict. By not wanting to serve, this homosexual corroded the corner stone of our legal system, "the right to be tried by a jury of his peer."

The guy makes a valid point. Why should he serve a legal system that doesn't recognize his right to marry who he wants to?

Time to end discrimination in this country, the state does not gain anything by denying gay people what straight people have access to, gay relationships are as valid as straight ones

Le 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

As a juror, he was asked if he could be impartial, so he was afforded the same right to opine as his fellow jurors. He did not suffer inequality in that courtroom; he just used that podium to express his dissatisfaction with an unrelated issue.

If he is crazy enough to want get married, he should be excused on the grounds of mental incompetence.

I think this is brilliant.
It makes perfect sense. If a person has
diminished rights then, they also have
diminished responsibilities.
Some people on this site need a re-education.
This is the 21st century and the love it or leave
it mentality is so antique.
And suspicious, too.

Peer means equal.
Get it?

Typical abnormal deviant behavior.

If everyone were normal, we might be speaking German right now.

Homosexuals can change they are mentally sick people that need help. Some homosexuals take female hormones to be that way when they should be taking male hormones to be what they are. I know homosexuals that have changed and are now married and have children.

Go to the link below and read what Randy, Kent, Carlton and others have to say about their change from the homosexual life style.
Over the past 15 years Randy has gone from a seriously liberal gay-identified man arguing with pro-lifers and mean Christians to a seriously conservative Christian-identified man attracted to women, supporting pro-life causes and contending with gay activists.
http://www.exodusinternational.org

Mr. Lovitz's point while it may have been well intended may end up becoming a method to discriminate against Gays and all LGBT people. I take his point about inequality, but the Judge by excluding him because he is Gay was wrong.

What if Judges elsewhere determine that yes all LGBT people are so repressed that they can not be impartial jurors. That it would be Constitutionally legal to dismiss all LGBT people from Juries with cause just because they are LGBT. Attorney's would not only have the right to exclude a LGBT juror for cause, but to ask all potential jurors (who would have to answer under penalty of perjury) if they were in fact Gay or otherwise LGBT. This would have a profoundly negative impact on the right to a jury trial in this country, particularly in the LGBT community.

Finally if every LGBT person or person of minority status declined jury duty because they felt repressed by society then who would be left in the jury pool? Those who have not been repressed or oppressed by society. This would skew the jury pool against the very interests of those in the minority population.

Chock this up as another reason why gays shouldn't serve in our military. They are disloyal and un-American.

Mr. Ovitz, shouldn't be allow to vote or have a passport or participate in Social Security benefits,etc. Serving on a jury is a duty of all US citizens if he is a "second class" citizens, as he claims, he shouldn't have any benefits that the "1st" class citizens enjoy.

Big mistake not to continue participating in the legal process while working for the equal rights and fair treatment you think you deserve. How would you feel if you were dragged to court on some charge that involved the fact that you are gay and no gay people agreed to serve on the jury?

I have to say that I was honestly shocked at the HATRED & IGNORANCE that was posted in some of the previous comments.

If you have SOME but not ALL EQUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW you should be happy & not ask to be treated like all other TAX PAYING AMERICAN CITIZENS?

And as for SOCIAL SECURITY, gay people pay into it for their entire working life & can use the benefits as long as they're alive. But UNLIKE HETEROSEXUALS, their marriages (in only some states) aren't recognized by the federal government, so when gay Americans die, their SS benefits aren't allowed under the law to pass onto their spouses. Is that being treated like a 1st class citizen?

Using the discredited Exodus International Organization as a credible source that "homosexuals can change because it is a choice?" REALLY?

To all those who quote their EDITED VERSIONS of Leviticus, how about you 1st try living YOUR life according to ALL of Leviticus? Which by the way is in the OLD TESTAMENT (Jesus broke a lot of those OLD TESTAMENT RULES.) What would Jesus do?

Religious beliefs DO NOT determine legal rights, nor do majority beliefs. If that were true, we'd still have slavery, Blacks would be denied the right to vote, women would be denied the right to vote & interracial marriages would still be illegal. The courts decided against those religious beliefs and/or those of the majority.

As for the comment about this gay hero being be-headed in Saudi Arabia - you wouldn't have the right to spew that kind of hate-filled FREE SPEECH there, either.

Until ALL AMERICANS regardless of who they love are afforded COMPLETE EQUAL RIGHTS under the law, they are being treated as 2nd class citizens. Don't confuse it with calling yourself a "victim." The truth is the truth!

As I read these comments, I thought what hatred, miseducated, hyprocritical, and STUPID people. You're the ones in the glory holes getting oral satifaction and infecting your wives and girlfriends. When you are in church, please pray that you
see the other side quickly!!! We upgrade your houses. We increase your property value. We decorate you truly ugly homes IF you can afford us. We design your landscaping. You most likely have a gay family member or friend. We take better care of foster children especially those that are ill than you do. We raise them with manners, honesty and integrity. Our disposable income is, in most cases, higher than yours. We are in most cases more educated that you.
Baltimore clammered in a campaign to get us to move there and HELP them with their housing issues. Until we are given full rights under the law, we will be here
doing all we can to get our due rights as full citizens. PERIOD.

Congratulations Jonathan!
Setting minds in action on the issue, no matter where you HAVE to do it, is right. I see no better place, actually, than in a court of Law, where (ostensibly) Equality and Justice hold up their heads highest.

Those who criticise you and insult you (here and off-line) are bullys and ego-centric, assuming all people have to be like them, like Dogma tells them.

In the eyes of the Law you are NOT like them, if you are indeed prevented from being treated equally.

We watch in shock and horror as the majority bully and force their own way on so many of America's people. The majority and public opinion is rarely right. They vote to deny and withhold rights like it is 1930s Nazi Germany.

I'd say kudos if this guy weren't such a self absorbed douchebag. I happen to know him, and he is one of the most shallow and vapid people I've ever met. If you're not a model or successful actor, he doesn't want to associate with you. And his Facebook is just a place to post shirtless picture after shirtless picture of himself so people can comment how beautiful he is. Actor? Pffft. One, he's terrible. Two, he hasn't done a performance that doesn't involve taking off all his clothes and showing off his body in the gay clubs since about 2008.

Friends have said he did this SOLELY because he wanted to get out of jury duty. And now when it blows up, he's saying he was standing up for himself. Nice try, honey. Just another ploy for attention. Be sure to make up those crow's feet when you do your next national interview...

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