By Doug Porter
This year’s San Diego Pride celebration was extra special for many of its participants. After years of political organizing, lawsuits and personal angst, the doors are open once again for same sex couples in California to celebrate their love through the institution of marriage, following rulings by the Supreme Court last month.
Nearly 200 individuals, community groups, churches and corporations participated in this year’s Pride Parade. Celebrities Brad and George Takei, along with LaToya Jackson did the honors as Grand Marshals. The theme for 2013 was “Freedom to Love and Marry”.
The U.S. Navy, Region Southwest recently authorized its sailors to wear their uniforms during the parade, and event organizers said that more than 300 members of the military to participated in the parade, either in uniform or in branch specific T-shirts.
“San Diego has a strong military presence and a large LGBT community, and its important to our LGBT service members that we honor their full identity and service to our country,” San Diego LGBT Pride General Manager Stephen Whitburn said.
“It was a great day”, said one participant, “where everybody can be themselves and not be afraid.”
Not everybody approved. Westboro Baptist Church had a handful of adherents along the route, who carried signs bearing anti-gay slogans, serving as a reminder of the reality that not all battles have been won on the human rights front.
Estimates of crowd size topped 200,000 along the 1.5 mile route of the parade, which ended at the Pride Festival in Balboa Park. The San Diego Pride parade is considered to be among the top 5 events of its type in the US.
Photos by Haley Joy Porter