NY Gay Pride Marchers Cheer New Hero: Supreme Court
York Daily News, June 29, 2003
450 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001
The Associated Press
Thousands of parade-goers filled Manhattan’s Fifth
Avenue on Sunday with cheers for the gay-rights movement’s unlikely new
hero—the U.S. Supreme Court.
The annual Heritage of Pride parade took place just days
after the high court struck down a ban on gay sex, ruling that the law was an
unconstitutional violation of privacy.
“Let’s hear it for gay pride,” Sen. Charles Schumer,
D-N.Y., bellowed through a megaphone as he marched down the avenue. “Let’s
even hear it for the Supreme Court—who ever thought we’d say that?”
Both sides of the parade route—from midtown to
Greenwich Village—were lined with revelers, pumping their fists jubilantly
in time with disco music blaring from floats. Many waved rainbow flags, the
symbol of the gay-rights movement.
The parade has a reputation for flamboyance, and
Sunday’s event didn’t disappoint. It featured a colorful procession of
lesbian motorcyclists, fluffy pink boas and floats swaying with shimmying drag
Still, parade-goers couldn’t stop talking about the
“It’s a critically important step toward bringing
full dignity and rights to gay people,” said Ana Oliveira, executive
director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, marching with her AIDS prevention
One couple from Houston, in town for the parade, wore
pink stickers with the slogan “My bedroom, my business” on their shirts.
“It’s incredible for us because now we’re legal,”
said Randy Roll, a lawyer, accompanied by his partner, Damon Crenshaw.
“There was always the fear that you would break the law if you had sex with
Marty Downs, community organizer with the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan, said: “(The parade)
hasn’t felt political in a long time. This year, there’s such a resonance,
such a sense of movement.”
Not that all the politics precluded fun.
Some men in the crowd of spectators wore multicolored
leis and long strings of faux pearls as they cheered floats. A woman smiled as
she waved a modified U.S. flag, its red and white stripes replaced by colors
of the rainbow.
Small pockets of anti-gay protesters—some holding
rosary beads and praying—stood behind police barricades at the route’s
start near Rockefeller Center.
“Homosexuality causes a defocusing of the family
unit,” said Jeffrey Smith, 45, from Brooklyn, standing near the steps of St.
Parade participants cheered and shook their fists at him
and other protesters, who responded by raising signs that read “Worse sin”
and “Rosary Rally.”
But the mood was mostly jubilant.
“We are not lesbians, but we like the costumes and the
dancing,” said Lurdes Cortes, 44, who was visiting New York from Barcelona,
She came to the parade with her daughter, Ona Estape, 13.
“We think this is very American,” she said in
faltering English. “This is, as you say, freedom.”
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