SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rainbows and good cheer will be out in force Sunday as hundreds of thousands of people pack gay pride events from New York City to Seattle, San Francisco to Chicago to celebrate a Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Organizers of San Francisco’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade, just called “Pride,” expect about 1 million revelers. It will have 240 groups marching in the parade and more than 30 floats, its largest in 45 years.
“Every trailer in Nevada and California has been rented and brought in, including one from a farm in Northern California,” said Gary Virginia, board president of San Francisco Pride. “I just think it’s going to be magical this year.”
That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court issued on Friday a long-awaited ruling, giving same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. Virginia’s comments were echoed by leaders of Pride celebrations in other cities.
“It’s going to be an epic weekend,” said David Studinski, march director for New York City Pride. “I actually just wrote on Twitter that this is the most historic Pride march since the first.”
New York City expects 22,000 people marching in a 2-mile route and more than 2 million people to visit throughout the day. The event is considered a march, Studinski said, because the movement still has much to accomplish.
In the Philippines, in India, in Australia and elsewhere, gay rights advocates think the U.S. ruling may help change attitudes.
In today’s wired world, political movements cross national boundaries in the blink of an eye, and the trend toward legal acceptance of same-sex marriage is gaining pace, though still rejected outright in some parts of the globe. The U.S. is neither laggard nor leader in this movement, which reflects a fundamental change in public views in many parts of the world, but the ruling of its highest court is expected to have a ripple effect elsewhere.
Pride festivities started as a way to honor the 1969 Stonewall rebellion, when gay patrons stood up to a police raid at a bar in New York City. In San Francisco, marchers took to Polk Street in 1970 and in 1972, the event became a parade, with an estimated 2,000 marchers and 15,000 spectators, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
This year’s parade in San Francisco, which has the theme “Equality Without Exception,” offers a bit of everything for spectators, from social justice to professional basketball. The parade’s celebrity grand marshal is Rick Welts, president of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Speakers include Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the landmark same-sex marriage suit decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chicago, the Twin Cities, St. Petersburg and St. Louis have planned Pride events for Sunday.
Seattle expects to draw nearly 500,000 parade watchers, said Eric Bennett, president of Seattle Pride.
“This is definitely going to be a momentous Pride weekend all over the country,” he said. “It’s just going to raise the celebration level of everybody who supports marriage equality.”
Associated Press writer Gregory Katz contributed to this report from London.
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