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There are so many reasons to admire Hugh Hefner, from the way he's provided generations of nubile, busty babes with gainful employment in the pages of Playboy to how he singlehandedly made silk pajamas acceptable work attire. We can now add another to the list: his continued support of equal rights.

"The fight for gay marriage is, in reality, a fight for all of our rights," Hef writes in a piece titled "Sexual Freedom" in the September issue of his men's mag (hey, it really does have articles!). "Without it, we will turn back the sexual revolution and return to an earlier, puritanical time."

He says that "now, in every instance of sexual rights falling under attack, you'll find legislation forced into place by people who practice discrimination disguised as religious freedom. Their goal is to dehumanize everyone's sexuality and reduce us to using sex for the sole purpose of perpetuating our species. To that end, they will criminalize your entire sex life."

According to Hugh, "Conservatives continue to assault the right of gays, whether by denying them the right to marry or, as in Kansas, by attempting to empower landlords, business owners and employers to discriminate against gays on religious grounds."

Hefner, 86, who has been hailed as a "gay rights pioneer" by The Advocate, also cites Arizona's attempt to make birth control coverage contingent on a medical condition, and a Kansas law that allows a pharmacist to refuse the sale of contraception due to his or her religious beliefs.

"This is a religious nation, but it is also a secular one," notes Hefner. "For decades, the American people have found a way to balance religious beliefs with secular freedoms. We have enjoyed freedom of religion and freedom from religion. These need not be incompatible. No one should have to subjugate their religious freedom, and no one should have their personal freedoms infringed. This is America, and we must protect the rights of all Americans."

That includes the naked ones. Amen.


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