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Participants in the Gay Pride Parade prepare to march on Fifth Avenue in New York on June 29. / Seth Wenig, AP

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters celebrated a year of victories in the push for legal same-sex marriage Sunday with gay pride parades in cities across the nation.

In Chicago, hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the first such parade since Illinois legalized gay marriage.

Charlie Gurion, who with David Wilk in February became the first couple in Cook County to get a same-sex marriage license, said there was a different feel to the parade this year.

"I think there is definitely like even more sense of pride now, knowing that in Illinois you can legally get married now," Gurion said. "I think it is a huge thing, and everybody's over the moon that they can do it now."

Crowds packed the streets of New York, San Francisco, Seattle and other cities.

In San Francisco, a report of possible gunfire proved unfounded but led to "a few minor injuries due to the panic that ensued,'' Officer Gordon Shyy, a department spokesman, said Sunday night. He said officers did not find evidence of a shooting or a victim. One person with a firearm was located and arrested, he said.

Thousands of participants waved rainbow flags while making their way down the New York's Fifth Avenue. Politicians, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, were among those walking along a lavender line painted on the street from midtown Manhattan to the West Village.

The New York parade marked the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots June 28, 1969. The uprising against police raids helped spark the gay rights movement. The parade route passed the Stonewall Inn, the site of the riots.

In San Francisco, hundreds of motorcyclists from the lesbian group Dykes on Bikes took their traditional spot at the head of the 44th annual parade. Apple had one of the largest corporate presences, including chief executive Tim Cook and about 4,000 employees and family members.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and assorted local politicians participated in the parade along Market Street. Gay police officers held hands with their partners as their children skipped ahead.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Dick Durbin were among those marching. Throngs stretched for dozens of blocks in one of the largest and most colorful events in a city that delights in vibrant street celebrations.

"People from everybody's churches, everybody's schools, everybody's clubs and everybody's favorite bar are here," said David Rivera, 30, a health care worker. "It is part old-time ticker tape parade and part a celebration of our rights. ... We have been gaining ground."

Actor George Takei, who played in the Star Trek TV show and is an activist for gay and civil rights, headed the Seattle parade.

A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of landmark rulings, one striking down the statute that denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages and the other clearing the way for gay couples to wed legally in California.

Seven more states legalized same-sex marriage, boosting the total to 19, plus Washington, D.C. The Obama administration extended federal benefits to married gay couples. In 17 consecutive court decisions, federal and state judges have upheld the right of gays to marry.

Contributing: William M. Welch in Los Angeles; Associated Press



Copyright 2014

Read the original story: Gay pride parades celebrate history and marriage

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