More than 1 million people celebrate at Chicago Pride Parade

Sun. June 29, 2014 7:02 PM by News Staff

Marriage equality took center stage at the 45th Annual Chicago Pride Parade

Chicago, IL - More than one million people turned out for the 45th annual Chicago Pride Parade as spectators crowded the streets from Uptown to Boystown to celebrate gay pride from the streets, rooftops and balconies on Sunday.

"Over 1 million people attended today's parade," Chicago Police said in a statement released to "Despite the large crowd, there were only a handful of issues including eight arrests, one of which was for criminal damage to a police vehicle."

Kristen Linscott posted several photos to Twitter and a video to Telly showing crowds sitting and standing on a squad car with a broken windshield. The video was recorded above Halsted and Aldine Ave in Boystown.

"This is why we hate pride," someone, presumably Linscott, can be heard saying in the video. "People destroy everything."

A second unattended squad car near Halsted and Buckingham was also reportedly damaged. 

The festive four-mile parade, which lasted over three hours, stepped off at noon in Uptown and traveled through Lakeview, Boystown and Lincoln Park. Sunday was the first pride parade since Illinois marriage equality law was enacted statewide on June 1. 

Marriage equality coupled with the beautiful weather brought out record crowds again this year. One million people attended in 2013.

"This is an important day in the history, not only in the state of Illinois, but the entire gay and lesbian movement," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters before the parade. "That obviously we no longer as the state of Illinois have straight marriage and gay marriage, we have marriage."

Marriage was a big part of this year's parade with four couples tying the knot on a float sponsored by Sears.   

Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the marriage equality bill into law last November, participated in the parade as did several other politicians, including Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky, and Sen. Dick Durbin. State Rep. Greg Harris, who sponsored the marriage equality legislation, marched with state Reps. Kelly Cassidy and Lou Lang, state Sen. Heather Steans, Ald. Deb Mell, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Commissioner Bridget Gainer and Ald. James Cappleman. 

Related: Quigley talks love for LGBT community, marching in Chicago Pride Parade for 32 years

Bruce Rauner, a gubernatorial challenger for Quinn, did not attend due to what a spokesman called a scheduling conflict.

"This parade we celebrate the diversity of our community and we also recognize the heroes and leaders who make our progress possible," Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov told before the parade. "It's important to know that our job is not yet done, and on Election Day we have to re-elect all those who made marriage equality possible."

The annual parade is organized by Richard Pfeiffer of PRIDEChicago. Chicago, Los Angeles and New York were the first marches in 1970, following the 1969 Stonewall Riots. 

Related: History of the Chicago Pride Parade

"It's amazing to see how the parade has grown from a sidewalk march of 150 people in 1970 to the large event that it is now, with more than 200 entries and hundreds of thousands of spectators," Pfeiffer said. "Needless to say, the world has changed dramatically for LGBTs since the first parade 45 years ago, but there is still a long way to go."

A portion of the parade will be broadcast on ABC 7 on Sunday from 11:30 pm to 12:30 am.

Photos: 2014 Chicago Pride Parade