Man Protests Gay Inequality and Gets Out of Jury Duty

Model, actor and singer Jonathan D. Lovitz found himself excused from jury duty in New York this past week because he voiced his concern that, given that he, a gay man, is made a second class citizen by the state denying him the right to marry and adopt, he could not judge another citizen impartially.

Jonathan wrote on his Facebook (via Justin, Plus One):

“Just had an intense day at jury duty. During voir dire we were asked who would not be impartial. I raised my hand and said “since I can’t get married or adopt a child in the state of New York, I can’t possibly be an impartial judge of a citizen when I am considered a second class one in the eyes of this justice system.” You wouldn’t believe how people in the room reacted.”

Of course, the minute Jonathan’s impartiality was in question he was let go.

Some may call this a case of introducing one’s sexual orientation into a sphere where it has no place, but given that even if gay people are allowed to marry, they are denied the 1049 or so federal rights and benefits of marriage because of the Defense of Marriage Act; that in New York, as in the majority of other states, gay and lesbian people are not allowed to marry or have their partnerships recognized and can not therefore access state-sanctioned rights including, often, the right to adopt; and that, without federal LGBT-inclusive employment nondiscrimination rules, employers in a majority of states can still fire people solely on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity, it becomes apparent that a small act such as this to protest such pervasive inequality takes on a greater significance.

The Human Rights Campaign is running an initiative calling on the New York Legislature to take up the issue of marriage equality, with a number of high-profiled figures having joined the campaign.

You can find out more below:

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Quinn Anya.


jane richmond
jane richmond8 years ago

A new approach. He tried and it worked. Not his fault.

Lika S.
Lika P8 years ago

I like this guy. Is he an activist here on Care2? If not, he should be.

L E P.
L E P8 years ago

Excellent John, Excellent
Again, I am just so sick & tired of people who do not have a life, poking their noses into someone elses. I wish people would just mind their own business...

Lin Moy
Lin M8 years ago

He did well.. One more reality show?? OH no.. Just what we don't need... help us from them all.

Botyfltiger E.
Past Member 8 years ago

Way to go John Lovitz!

pam w.
pam wilkerson8 years ago


Grace Adams
Grace Adams8 years ago

I have ended up excused from jury duty because I gave up driving because I am just too bad of a driver to be able to afford the required insurance and the bus schedule to get to the jury duty is such that even if the buses ran like clockwork, taking the bus would make me at least fifteen minutes late. And of course the convenience of those running the system is more important than having as wide an assortment as possible of different jurors.

Bo Tipton
Bo Tipton8 years ago

I have friends who live in New York who are gay and have adopted 2 children. I applaud Lovitz for standing up for what he believes in but he should get his facts straight before making a statement like he did. I cannot believe that he did not know that he could adopt children in New York state.

Brian T.
Brian T.8 years ago

Mr Lovitz is horribly incorrect on many levels. My concern is that he makes an incorrect statement that harms LGBT folks who may want to adopt and the kids in Foster Care, by incorrectly asserting he can not adopt. This is factually incorrect. However, in the mind of many LGBT folks this urban myth and legend takes on a life as its own as fact. These incorrect assumptions provide those who would take away more of our rights the avenue to take even more.

This is evidenced in pivotal states where they are looking to take away parenting rights....(Arkansas, Utah, Arizona), it is easy to remove something you never knew you had, and even easier to take it away when most "Gave up", but that ultimately harms LGBT youth who want to parent in the future and the kids in foster care now.  This tactic, is employed to gradually reverse advances made and the statement by Mr. Lovitz, just furthers their cause.

His comment is harmful to children and LGBT parents. Additionally, we all hate Jury Duty, but it is something you do....get over it and get the facts.

Brian J. Tessier Esq.
CEO-We Hear The Children Inc.

LJ G8 years ago

good for him! maybe if I get called for jury duty I'll say I can't be impartial cos women (in some cases) still don't earn as much as men who do the same jobs...