Edie Windsor to lead Huntington gay pride festival

Edie Windsor, who successfully sued the United States Edie Windsor, who successfully sued the United States government in a court case that went to the Supreme Court for banning gay marriage in California, waves to revelers while riding in the New York Gay Pride Parade on June 30, 2013 in New York City. Photo Credit: Getty / Andrew Burton

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Edie Windsor, whose lawsuit led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, is slated to serve as grand marshal of the 24th annual Long Island gay pride parade and PrideFest in Huntington next month.

"I feel thrilled and honored to be the Grand Marshal of the Long Island Pride Parade -- especially so to be marching with Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) and the entire Long Island community," Windsor said in an email. "The growth and success of LIGALY and my Supreme Court victory . . . both speak to a future of hope and opportunity that I couldn't have imagined when I was a young teenager."

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Windsor, 84, became a gay-rights icon last year when the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, ending parts of the 1996 law that denied same-sex married couples the federal legal rights and benefits of marriage.

David Kilmnick, CEO of Bay Shore-based Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Network, said Windsor's presence in Huntington represents "a huge moment for all of Long Island to come and to honor and celebrate the woman who brought equality to same-sex couples throughout the entire country."

The all-day event on June 14 is to include entertainment from local talent and top performers, including Long Island native and singer Taylor Dayne and former "America's Got Talent" contestant Prince Poppycock.

Kilmnick, a co-founder of the parade, said last year's event drew 15,000 people. "This is a day for all Long Islanders," he said. "It doesn't matter what sexual orientation you are to come out and show their pride and support for the gay and lesbian community and all our families and just have a really good time doing so."

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The parade is to start at noon on Park Avenue near the town senior center and head West on Main Street to Prime Avenue, where marchers will enter Heckscher Park about 1 p.m. for PrideFest. The festival runs until 6 p.m.

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