[2 July 2013]
Pride March 2013 was more festive than ever this year, but only by the slimmest margin of votes. The US Supreme Court Justices voted 5-4 ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a case last week that had been brought in front of them by one of this year’s Grand Marshals, Edie Windsor (the other marshalss were musician Harry Belafonte and the head of the Center for Black Equity, Earl Fowlkes). Windsor had said “If somebody had told me 50 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City’s gay pride parade in 2013, at the age of 84, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
The March is not deemed a parade but instead, as the press release says, is a reminder of “the anniversary of that first protest in 1969 sparked by a police raid of the Stonewall Inn and remains a protest until we achieve complete and equal rights for the entire GLBT community in America.” Fittingly, its route down 5th Avenue in Manhattan ends near the Stonewall Inn at Christopher and Greenwich Street. There was such a sheer number of participants over the nearly two mile route that the last floats hadn’t even kicked off as the rain began coming down around 3:30, though the inclement weather didn’t dampen their spirits.
Politicians and corporate sponsors added to the revelry. Notable attendees included Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo as well as numerous other politicians or those in-the-running candidates. The contingent for NYC mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, who identifies as a lesbian, was pretty sizable though she was followed later by an opposition group against her. Former U.S. Representative and now mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was able to play another attention grabbing card card. His banner stretched almost the whole avenue and his own contingent was quite large, but he was lavished more attention for his name. The crowd cheered for “Weiner” as he passed, though some had been cheering the same word in a different context when he wasn’t around.
The social tide has changed over the last 40 years, but there is still a long way to go. People thank Windsor for helping set aside DOMA and she was having a great time riding through the streets in the convertible. As she told the New York Times, “I have marched for years. I never dreamed I would be the grand marshal. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s really an experience for this old lady.” Hopefully she could be the grand marshal of a gay pride parade in the near future.