Chicago turns out to celebrate gay pride

An estimated 400,000 people from all walks of life lined Halsted Street Sunday afternoon in an area commonly known as "Boystown" for the annual event.

Sunday was a day when gay pride was fully on display.

"It's important to support. It's important to wear your colors. It's important to be proud," said parade spectator Stephanie Boudreax.

"It's about celebrating human rights and being a human being on this planet,and people are celebrating life," said Chelsea Morgan, who also attended the parade.

The parade scene was a spectacle to be sure, but there was a larger context to the event. Take, for example, the thousands of other pride events held across the country Sunday.

The Chicago parade commemorates a three-day riot in New York City in 1969, a happening that many say sparked the modern gay rights movement.

"Today is a day to celebrate the lesbian , gay and transgender community here in Illinois, and its also a day for us to reflect on the many gains this community has made, but how there's still more to be done until people are treated equally," said Rick Garcia of Equality Illinois.

A key milestone this year was the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state of California. June 16, a state supreme court decision paved the way for gay couples to tie the knot.

Chicago natives John Pennycuff and Robert Castillo flew to San Francisco to exchange vows and were married Friday.

"This is our reception, actually. What better way to celebrate our marriage than with 400,000 of our brothers and sisters, It's a perfect way to do it," the newlyweds told ABC7 Chicago.

There are efforts in Illinois to help grant gay couples some of the same rights as opposite-sex couples, and with the recent advances in the LGBT community, many are positive state officials will approve more inclusive regulations.

" We're working hard to pass civil unions here in Illinois. We hope to do that this fall. it will give people a chance to have basic rights like hospital visitation, etc. We can pass strong civil unions," said State Rep. Greg Harris of the 13th District.

For anyone that missed the fun in person, ABC7 Chicago will broadcast the Gay Pride Parade Sunday at 11:35 p.m.

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