The 2013 Gay Pride Parade in Minneapolis was similar to previous years I have attended with gay and lesbian bands marching, people in quirky customs, and liberal politicians all making their way down Nicollet Avenue. Minnesota companies who celebrate their GLBT employees set up booths and hand out freebies. Men walked around in speedos. However, this year offered a new set of venders – wedding planning services for gay couples since same-sex couples will be able to marry starting August 1st.
I was very much affected by the environment of joy following political and social victories. In November, Minnesota voters said, “No” to a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. In May, the Minnesota senate and house passed legislation which legalizes same-sex marriage. I know this is not the end of fighting homophobia, and that marriage is not the end-all be-all for many gay and lesbian couples, but I think it is an important step.
Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe was the Grand Marshall of the parade after being very vocal in the past year about supporting gay rights. He quit writing his column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press after they decided to support the Constitutional Amendment.
I remember doing my first report on same-sex marriage during eighth grade. I wrote about the struggles in Hawaii and Vermont to legalize gay and lesbian marriage, and how those had backfired into the Defense of Marriage act. George W. Bush was elected during that year, and it seemed state after state was changing its constitution to make same-sex marriage nearly impossible. I remember thinking I would be an old woman before any American gay or lesbian couples were married.
But it happened! I could not stop tearing up during the parade. The crowd was cheering on the people in the parade, and the people in the parade were having so much fun. Couples held hands, kissed, and pushed their babies in strollers. My cousin walked in the parade with his gay fraternity, and walked around with my friend and my mother.
Ariella and I