June 10, 2014

Record Crowds Celebrate Gay Pride In L.A., Milwaukee, and Salt Lake City


Two gay Daddies with their three kids at L.A. LGBT Pride Parade 2014

Los Angeles
Parade organizer’s told CBS LA that over 400,000 people were expected to attend the parade and festival on Sunday.

To read about the Gay Pride parades in Los Angeles and West Hollywood, Milwaukee, and Salt Lake City, and see the photos, click “Read More”

At twelve noon, the parade participants observed a moment of silence, which was dedicated to members of the community that were victims of murderous hate crimes.
“The LA Pride Parade is based on celebrating the LGBT community and the people and organizations that have helped make progress in terms of equality,” parade chair Tom Pardoe said.
Recounting the LGBT Pride Parade for the Los Angeles Times, reporter Hailey Branson-Potts caught up with someone who had been at the first Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade in 1970.

In the crowd watching the annual L.A. Pride Parade on Sunday, Raymond Sylvester could hardly keep the smile off his face.

Sylvester, 74, was at the first parade in 1970, when it was so controversial that members of the Los Angeles Police Commission tried to prevent it, citing potential violent reaction from bystanders.

On Sunday, there were families with children — some with two fathers, some with two mothers — all around Sylvester. There were children in the parade. Smiles in the crowd. It was the first parade since the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decisions last summer that allowed gay marriage to, once again, be legal in California.

"It's happier this year," Sylvester said. "People are happier. They can get married now. You see a lot of people pushing around their kids. It's beautiful."

Sylvester was one of thousands of people who lined Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, cheering at rainbow-colored floats, wild costumes and cheerleaders in drag.
Jinkx Monsoon (Jerick Hoffer) of RuPaul’s Drag Race

The GMCLA Gay Mens Chorus Los Angeles

Milwaukee

Milwaukee Gay Pride Parade Rainbow Banner 2014

Last Friday a federal judge sitting in Madison, struck down the Wisconsin constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Last Friday was the start of Milwaukee’s PrideFest 2014.
Within one hour of PrideFest’s opening, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, sending festival spirits to the moon for the weekend.

You can’t help but wonder if the judge in Wisconsin knew that her ruling would fuel massive Gay Pride, and a huge celebration.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headline read “PrideFest crowd cheers after learning of gay marriage ruling.” The Wisconsin Gazette headline was “Thunderous applause for marriage equality at Milwaukee PrideFest.”

Milwaukee’s Pridefest announced that they set a new attendance record in 2014, with over 30,000 people attending the weekend festival.

“We are so deeply humbled by what we’ve seen and heard this weekend,” said Kate Sherry, festival co-producer. “Our visitors, volunteers, and performers shared how excited and proud they were to be here, with us, during this historic weekend. You have been heard, and we are feeling the love.  Thank you for all the photos, emails, voicemails, tweets, Facebook posts, and hugs.”

The PrideFest organization had partnerships with Visit Milwaukee, Pabst Theater Group, BMO Harris Bradley Center and the Milwaukee Pride Parade, to promote Milwaukee as a regional LGBT pride destination for the four-day weekend.  

“The timing of the marriage equality news was a great gift to the people of Wisconsin and our PrideFest visitors. Love won out, pure and simple, this weekend,” said PrideFest Milwaukee President Scott Gunkel.

Milwaukee LGBT Gay Pride Parade on Sunday June 8, 2014.

Salt Lake City

Utah LGBT Gay Pride Parade June 8, 2014

Salt Lake City played host to Utah’s Gay Pride parade and Festival on Sunday.

Parade official Bonnie O’Brien said that the parade featured 143 contingents, with 7,000 to 9,000 people participating.

KSLTV News reported that “Thousands of spectators lined 200 South and 400 East, four or five deep on some blocks.”

Salt Lake City Tribune reporters  Matt Canham and Danielle Manley
wrote about the historical significance of Utah’s Pride Parade, and the grand marshals.

This weekend’s celebration is the first since some 1,300 same-sex couples — many of whom were part of the parade — were able to marry during a 17-day window that opened Dec. 20 when U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional, and closed when the state won a stay while appealing that ruling.

The parade’s grand marshals were the three couples who brought the suit involved in Shelby’s ruling — Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, and Kate Call and Karen Archer.

Wearing all white and ringing bells, Utah’s married gay couples, and others from surrounding states, stretched for a full city block at the head of the 2014 Pride Parade, trailing a massive float carrying among others Michael Ferguson and Seth Anderson, the first same-sex partners to wed in Utah.

Many carried signs with their names, their wedding date and the years they have been together. That included Jody Senninger and Connie Christensen of Heber. In their 18 years together, they have experienced their share of bigotry and hatred from family members, neighbors and employers.

"They think it is a choice," said Senninger. "Love is not a choice."

"I want the hate to go away and I want the love to come out," Senninger said.

Mormons Building Bridges in the Utah LGBT Gay Pride Parade 2014

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