Skip to main content

Marchers celebrate gay pride in parades across the country

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • LGBT people and their supporters march in parades large and small
  • Marchers demand equality, oppose discrimination based on sexual identity
  • Parishioners from New York church march but without banner
  • Shooting incident mars "Pink Saturday" festivities in San Francisco

(CNN) -- Gay pride was on display in towns and cities across the United States Sunday as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people -- and their supporters -- marched in parades large and small to demand equality, oppose discrimination and express pride in who they are.

In New York, the parade featured participants of every age and many backgrounds. Some dressed conservatively, others were decked out in glittering fabrics and some wore next to nothing at all.

The atmosphere was festive and open, as marchers carried handmade signs with messages including, "Straight but not narrow-minded" and represented groups including the New York Gay Bloggers.

But there was no banner for St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church. Parishioners did march, but obeyed an order from New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan that they should not carry a banner with the church's name. The banner they carried was blank.

The gay pride parade in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is considered one of the biggest events in the state -- last year's parade drew more than half a million people, according to CNN affiliate KARE.

Video: No church banner in Pride march

On Sunday, participants wandered in a festival-type atmosphere that included tents for people to sell services and wares.

The festival also included a man handing out Bibles and preaching against homosexuality. Festival organizers had tried to block his presence, but a federal court ruled that the man could not be banned from the park.

Anti-gay activist attends Twin Cities gay pride fest (KARE)

There were no incidents related to his presence, and some participants even stopped to engage him in what appeared to be friendly debate.

iReport: 40 years of pride in New York

Even tiny Fayetteville, Arkansas, had a gay pride parade for the fourth year running. It was small but attended by enthusiastic supporters, who were able to drown out the words coming from Christian counter-demonstrators.

The grand marshal of the parade was 10-year-old Will Phillips, who made headlines by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at his school. He said his reasoning was that not all U.S. citizens enjoy liberty and justice, particularly gay, lesbian and transgender people.

iReport: Scenes from Arkansas parade

But in San Francisco, violence shook the city's neighborhood perhaps most associated with gay pride, the Castro district. Police said three people were shot at a party, during so-called "Pink Saturday" festivities preceding Sunday's activities.

iReport: Aftermath of shooting

Local media reported that one man died as a result of his injuries.