Jeff Zarrillo & Paul Katami

"Paul Katami and his husband, Jeff Zarrillo, were the plaintiffs in the landmark United States Supreme Court case Hollingworth vs. Perry which overturned Proposition 8 and restored equal marriage rights in California. The lawsuit was the first to challenge marriage equality bans for gays and lesbians on Federal Constitutional grounds." - Nominator (wishes to remain anonymous)

Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo

2014 LGBT Pride Month Local Heroes nominee

Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo

Title Plaintiffs in Supreme Court Proposition 8 case
Organization/Business American Foundation for Equal Rights

  • The couple, who have been together since 2001, decided in 2008 they wanted to get married, and came to the conclusion that they could no longer be treated as second-class citizens. Through social media they stepped into action and created a video that went viral overnight.
  • With the help of Chad Griffith (currently President of the Human Rights Campaign), lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies, Hollywood activists Rob Reiner, Bruce Cohen and Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the American Federation for Equal rights was born and a federal lawsuit was filed in California. The two now-married men became the plaintiffs in what became the Proposition 8 landmark court challenge.
  • As plaintiffs in the lawsuit Hollingsworth v Perry, which granted marriage equality for families across California, the couple spent countless hours during the four and a half year battle speaking out, prepping for the trial, and visiting schools and colleges speaking to the student bodies about the impact of the case at a federal level.
  • The couple have been given the Human Rights Campaign National Equality Award for their action as well as the 2013 "Californians of the Year" and "Spirit of Courage" Award from the Courage Campaign; and were among the Top 10 Candidates for The Advocate's "Person of the Year." Star in their own award-winning HBO documentary, The Case Against B, which premiered at Sundance in January 2013 and will air on HBO around the world in the Spring 2014.
  • They spent time traveling to schools, universities and playhouses across greater Los Angeles doing talkbacks and question and answers sessions following productions of the play 8, written by Dustin Lance Black, which chronicled the trial and used actual court transcripts and first-hand interviews to present both sides of the federal case against marriage equality.
  • Married June 28, 2013 at Los Angeles City Hall by Mayor Antonio Vallaraigosa. Currently working as a small business owner (Katami) and the general manager of a theater company (Zarrillo), they continue to travel and appear to speak out about the legal obstacles faced by LGBT Americans in all aspects of life, including marriage, housing and employment, and bullying.


Susan Feniger


Dr. Marie Cartier