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Thousands march for Pride in WeHo

June 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thousands of people descended upon West Hollywood for the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade. The event came in a year that saw gay marriage defeated in the California Supreme Court.The annual parade celebrating Los Angeles' lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities always attracts an enthusiastic crowd.

"It's a great opportunity for us to celebrate, to have fun together, to scream, to shout and have a great time," said parade watcher, Lisa Kleinhoffer.

"We're free to be ourselves, and we just like to celebrate as much as possible," said Brenda Heslin.

Thousands lined Santa Monica Boulevard, cheering and applauding as dozens of colorful floats and marching groups went by.

In the midst of all the celebration many in the gay community are focusing on a very serious issue; the right to marry.

There were constant reminders of the fight to overturn California's recent ban on gay marriage.

"It's a bitter-sweet moment," said Rodney Scott, the Pride Parade organizer. "We are devastated and heartbroken that Californians were lied to for months. $40 million were spent to lie about our community and what we are about."

"I feel like I am very liberal, and I feel like everyone should have the right to marry," said Sherry Liu.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who may be competing against each other in next year's Governor's race, took part in the parade. During a news conference both voiced their support for same-sex marriage.

"California became the first state in U.S. history to use its constitution to take people's rights away," said Newsom.

But even in the face of those issues, many were happy to have a reason to celebrate.

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