With fingers crossed for a possible deal on gay marriage, this Sunday’s 42nd annual Gay Pride March will carry a special significance no matter what happens, participants said.
“We’re so close to marriage equality, just one vote away,” said Gary Cosgrove, president of the Imperial Court of New York, a nonprofit group and parade grand marshal that raises money for charities and gay rights organizations. “We’re really hopeful. It will break down a lot of walls that have been built up over the years.”
This year’s other grand marshals include the Rev. Pat Bumgardner of Metropolitan Community Church of New York, and Dan Savage and Terry Miller, gay marriage advocates and founders of the It Gets Better Project, which aims to lower the suicide rate among gay teens.
This year’s theme is “Proud and Powerful,” reflecting the growing influence of gay Americans.
The grand marshals “embody that,” said Chris Frederick, managing director of parade organizer Heritage of Pride. “Look at how [Savage] and [Miller] led the way in raising awareness about youth suicides. They’re sending the message that you control your own destiny.”
Recent progress has gay activists feeling optimistic about the future of the movement. The military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, for instance, was repealed in the year since the last parade.??“In 2010, we showed the Democrats that we couldn’t be taken for granted any more by withholding votes and withholding dollars,” Savage said. “It inspired them to get off their butts and deliver on some of the promises that they’d made.”
But all eyes remain fixed on the possible vote to allow gay marriage in the state Senate.
“If the bill passes, what you’ll see at the parade is joy, which is empowering. If it doesn’t pass, you’ll see anger, which is equally empowering,” Savage said.
If you go:
Where: Starts at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and ends at Christopher and Greenwich streets
When: Sunday, June 26th, starting at noon?