Last edited: December 05, 2004

Gay Pride Marching Sunday

Newsday, June 26, 2003
235 Pinelawn, Melville, NY 11747-4250
Fax: 516-843-2986

By Marc Parry, Staff Writers

Marchers in the annual gay pride parade Sunday say they will have something extra to celebrate this year on the heels of two landmark gay-rights decisions.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional Texas’s ban on homosexual sex. The decision follows a June 17 ruling granting marriage rights to gays in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.

Janice Thom from Heritage of Pride, the organizers of Sunday’s march, called the Texas decision a “stunning gain” that will electrify the day’s festivities.

“Each one of us as a homosexual now knows that this country recognizes our rights just a little bit more than they did yesterday,” she said. “And that puts the wind at your back.”

There is no wind in Sunday’s forecast, just a few clouds and a high temperature of 83 degrees. The parade will begin at noon at 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue. It will head south following a lavender line painted on the street and end 4 1/2 miles later at Christopher and Greenwich streets in the village.

Brendan Fay, an Astoria gay rights activists, said Ontario’s new marriage laws will make this year’s march “a particularly joyous occasion.” Fay, 45, plans to cross the border July 12 to marry his partner of seven years. The two will march down Fifth Avenue together.

“On Sunday you’re going to see a lot of couples,” Fay said. “And the conversation on Fifth Avenue will be, ‘When are you going to Canada?’”

“This year we have something amazing to celebrate,” said Michael Adams of the Lamda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which worked on the Texas case. “This is the most important gay rights victory out of the court ever.”

This year organizers will honor two theater veterans: playwright Terrence McNally and actress Cherry Jones.

Meanwhile, a daylong fair called Pridefest will take place at Greenwich and Washington streets in the West Village. Stalls will offer everything from advice on adoption to rainbow colored tube socks. There also will be a performance stage. The day will end at Pier 54 with the “Dance of Pride” fund-raiser.

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