Gay actor: No jury duty for 'second-class' citizen

 

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

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.

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 dialogue?’ 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.”

— STEVE ROTHAUS

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