Lawmakers from Bangor to San Francisco headed out to the Gay Pride parade this June to shake hands, kiss babies and make speeches. The annual event is being overrun by lawmakers sharing the stage with drag queens, dikes on bikes and go-go boys atop floats.
As lawmakers take up gay rights issues across the nation, their numbers – and prominence – at the rainbow colored festivals are swelling.
Sunday's New York City parade was lead by Governor David Paterson. Paterson accepted the invitation to be the parade's grand marshal hoping to celebrate passage of a gay marriage bill he's backing. Instead he walked forty blocks clutching a rainbow flag while expressing hope the legislation would still pass.
“In my dream, I was grand marshal of a parade where as I'm taking steps down Fifth Avenue, many [gay] New Yorkers can take steps down the aisles to be married, which I think is their right,” Paterson told the New York Times.
“I think that the bill should be considered,” he added.
Maine State Senator Dennis Damon lived Paterson's dream last Saturday while serving as master of ceremonies for Portland's Gay Pride parade after Maine lawmakers surprisingly approved his gay marriage bill this spring.
“It isn't just the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community,” Damon said, “it's our community as a whole. And that's what I hope that Maine will look onto, will grab onto and continue to move forward with.”