February 22, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EST

Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of Milk, is walking the carpet with real-life Harvey associate Cleve Jones. They’re both wearing white ribbons– promoting marriage equality– and Black says he really hopes the message of this film continues to have an impact in that fight. He says growing up as a boy in Texas, Harvey was his “gay hero,” and he really hopes his story, despite its tragic end, continues to inspire. “In my mind, he knew his life was what he was going to have to give, to get the message across. He wanted his death to be something hopeful.” FYI: Black’s next project? The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, again with Gus Van Sant. –Whitney Pastorek

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