D.C. pride parade celebrates LGBT progress as court decision looms

WASHINGTON — Sean Franklin and George Carrancho thought they would be married in their home state of Texas — a state where same-sex marriage is illegal.

Instead, the couple was chosen to have their marriage officiated Saturday on a float during the Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C. — where same-sex marriage is legal.

“It’s an honor and it’s a huge responsibility we don’t take lightly,” Carrancho said. “We’re one of many couples who want to be married and we should be able to get married.”

The couple’s marriage set the tone for the 40th annual Capital Pride Parade as the U.S. Supreme Court will soon announce its decision in a landmark case that could make same-sex marriage legal across the nation.

“It’s going to be amazing and awesome when it happens,” Franklin said of the court decision. “Everybody will have the opportunity to get married no matter who they are.”

The Capital Pride Parade reflected on the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with this year’s theme of “Flashback.” An array of floats and thousands of participants marched through DuPont Circle on Saturday to celebrate the progress that’s been made in the LGBT community.

More than 150,000 people filled the streets during the parade from start to finish, according to organizers. They cheered as floats passed by, laughed as they were sprayed with water guns and hugged participants in the parade as they passed.

Gay marriage is already legal in more than 35 states and the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court’s decision will be released by the end of the month and could mark another historic chapter for the LGBT community.

The Capital Pride Alliance, which organized Saturday’s event, is a D.C.-based organization that focuses on the progression of LGBT rights. The parade is part of a series of celebratory events over the past two weeks and will be followed by a festival in the nation’s capital Sunday.

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Armed Forces color guard was to lead the parade. The Boy Scouts Troops of America were to follow the guard, marking the organization’s first appearance at the parade. Last month, the president of the organization lifted the ban on gay troop leaders.

Marriott — which is sponsoring the parade — featured the the marriage on its float as part of the company’s #LoveTravels campaign. Ross Mathews, an E! Television personality and gay rights activists, officiated

“I feel like we’re on the precipice of the Supreme Court making this the law of the land,” Mathews said before the parade. “This city’s where the laws are made, and it does feel historic. The vibe here is not just celebratory; it’s historic.”

Wilson Cruz, the parade’s grand marshal, said he anticipated celebrating with the LGBT community as the Supreme Court case could mark a historic step for the progression of gay rights.

He added that even if the decision turns out favorably for the LGBT community, there is more work to be done.

“Pride is about celebrating how far we’ve come, but also re-energizing ourselves for the fight that’s left,” Cruz said.

Ahead of the parade, Bernie Delia, president of the Capital Pride Alliance, said many of the participants anticipate a “favorable outcome” in the Supreme Court’s decision because new strides are made within the LGBT community every year.

D.C. has been at the center of the fight for LGBT rights since the beginning of the movement. In 1957, Frank Kameney, a federal employee, was fired because he was gay. The decision sparked the beginning of the movement the parade’s attendees will participate in Saturday.

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