Participants in New York’s annual Gay Pride Parade were celebrating more than usual this past weekend as two days before the grand fete came the legalization of same-sex marriages. Considered by many to be the most electric parade in its 42-year history, it drew more than 2 million spectators. The annual theme of the parade was “proud and powerful”, but it had an extra wallop after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the law into effect late on Friday afternoon, June 24.
New York has now become the sixth and most populous U.S. state to legalize gay marriage. The other five include: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
Governor Cuomo strutted proudly in the parade marked by marching bands and glittering costumes. He displayed a colorful gay pride flag tucked in his jacket pocket. Beside him, marched Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and New York City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn.
The New York Gay Pride Parade began in 1970 and remains the largest and most popular gay event in the United States. The very first parade is often considered the beginning of the American gay rights movement as it was originally meant to commemorate the riots at the Stonewall Inn, which became the focus for violent protests against the unlawful treatment that gays and lesbians suffered at the hands of the New York City police department.
And now the commemoration is all about belonging and inclusion and the changing consciousness of a nation.
What better impetus for a parade?