Celebration in the air as Chicago Pride Parade steps off at noon

Sun. June 30, 2013 7:27 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

chicago pride parade 2012

Supreme Court rulings brighten spirit after Illinois’ failure to pass marriage equality

Chicago, IL - On the heels of the Supreme Court's landmark rulings on Wednesday declaring an end to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and restoring marriage fairness in California, celebration will be in the air today when tens of thousands of people arrive in Lakeview for the 44th Annual Chicago Pride Parade.

"The parade is always both social and political, but this year politics will be present," parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer told ChicagoPride.com. "In fact we have heard that many entries will have signs urging Illinois legislators to affirm same sex marriage in Illinois; however, many community members are also elated by the Supreme Court rulings and want to celebrate that victory."

Despite the Supreme Court victories on marriage rights, it's been a rough year for marriage equality in Illinois after the Illinois House failed to call same-sex marriage legislation during their spring session.

Many in the community were outraged over the failure in Springfield, which sparked a call to ban politicians from the annual parade. PRIDEChicago, the parade organizers, said that would not happen.

Sunday's parade will included the usual mix of political figures from Chicago and Illinois. In the past many of the politicians have marched on their own, but this year a bipartisan group of politicians will join the Illinois Unites for Marriage contingent under the message "We Are Committed to Winning the Freedom to Marry."

"In the aftermath of the historic Supreme Court rulings, there is renewed energy and determination to bring marriage equality to Illinois, and we hope to channel the spirit of the Pride Parade into the marriage campaign," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

Related: Pols join with Illinois Unites pride contingent

Also lending support to the LGBT cause are Chicago's professional sports teams. There are registered entries from the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bulls. In addition, members of the Chicago Fire and a member of the Chicago Sky will be each participating with two different business entries. The Chicago Blackhawks will be included with the Chicago Gay Hockey Association

Related: Chicago's pro sports teams support LGBTQ community

Former NFL player, activist, and openly gay man Wade Davis, who played for the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks, will serve as Grand Marshal for this year's parade.

ChicagoPride.com has confirmed Davis will be joined Marques Sullivan, who has played for the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and New England Patriot; Reggie Smith, who has played for the Denver Broncos; Marc May, who played for the Minnesota Vikings; and Dan Morjal, who played for the Chicago Bears.

Related: NFL Players Association to join Wade Davis in Pride Parade

The parade, set to step off at noon, begins at the corner of Broadway and Montrose and will continue south on Broadway before heading south on Halsted to Belmont. Then the parade will head east on Belmont, return south on Broadway and will travel east on Diversey to Cannon Drive.

The longer route, which debuted last year, is expected to accommodate the large number of spectators.

Parade officials encourage public transportation and advise people to use the Sheridan or Wilson stops of the CTA's Red Line, rather than the crowded Belmont station.

Check the CTA's website for more information on bus reroutes and parade transportation.

The Chicago Pride Parade is set to begin at noon on Sunday, June 30, routing from Broadway and Montrose to Diversey and Cannon Drive. The parade, which will have over 200 entries and is expected to draw more than 850,000 people, is the culmination of June Pride Month in Chicago.

"We are hoping for a joyous, peaceful and safe day," said Pfeiffer. "Parade day is about Pride, Love and Unity."

A live stream of the parade will be offered online on ChicagoPride.com and GayChicagoTV.com.

Related: Online Guide to Pride 

More: Parade line of march | Parade tips | Pride cocktails


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