Andrew Garfield slammed a Supreme Court ruling that allowed a baker to escape punishment for not providing a gay couple with a wedding cake while accepting his first Tony Award.
Garfield, who won Best Leading Actor in a Play for portraying Prior Walter in Angels in America, referenced the baker’s religious beliefs being used to justify discriminating against the couple.
“We are all sacred and we all belong, so let’s just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked,” said Garfield.
He also dedicated the award to LGBTQ people who have fought for equality.
“It is a spirit that says no to oppression. It is a spirit that says no to bigotry, no to shame, no to exclusion. It is a spirit that says we are all made perfectly. That we all belong,” he said. “So, I dedicate this award to the countless LGBTQ people who have fought and died to protect that spirit, to protect that message: For the right to live and love as we are created to.”
Garfield also criticized the Court’s decision on the red carpet before the awards show, saying that he found the decision to be “very curious” and he believed it would encourage other people’s “bigoted ideas.”
“We need to change everything. We need to start over,” he said. “The old guard needs to quietly vanish into the night and graciously give the world to the new generation.”
Garfield’s win came as part of a night heavy on LGBTQ elements. In addition to Garfield’s Best Actor gong, Angels in America won Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance by an Actor in a Feature Role for Nathan Lane.
In addition, John Tiffany, who won Best Direction for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, asked the audience to sing happy birthday to his boyfriend (who seemed mortified).
Angels in America scribe Tony Kushner noted that Judy Garland’s birthday was also June 10, and said he’d be a bad gay if he hadn’t pointed it out. And the cast of The Boys in the Band were featured prominently.
Garfield’s speech wasn’t the only political statement made during the course of the evening. Robert De Niro had to be censored during the live broadcast when he criticized Trump while introducing a musical performance by Bruce Springsteen.
“First, I wanna say, ‘Fuck Trump,'” De Niro said. “It’s no longer ‘Down with Trump,’ it’s ‘Fuck Trump.'”
De Niro’s words were met with a standing ovation from the audience.
Another emotional moment came when drama teacher Melody Herzfeld, who protected her students in her classroom at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, received the excellence in theatre education prize.
“Next to the passing of my dear parents and in-laws, marrying the love of my life and the birth of my amazing sons and reuniting with my theater students, there has never been a more defining moment of my life,” said Ms. Herzfeld. “All the goodness and tragedy that has brought me to this point will never be erased.”
Then, Herzfeld’s students came on stage for a surprise rendition of the song “Seasons of Love” from Rent, receiving a standing ovation.
Watch the performance below: