Gay Pride Weekend celebration gets boost by Supreme Court ruling

Saturday, June 27, 2015
Gay Pride Weekend celebration gets boost by Supreme Court ruling
Chicagoans are already in a festive mood as organizers gear up for the Gay Pride Weekend.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Many gay and lesbian couples thought this day would never come. In Chicago, the celebration that began almost immediately after the Friday morning Supreme Court ruling. that legalized gay marriage nationwide, is sure to last through Sunday when the 46th Annual Pride Parade hits the streets.

Pride weekend is always a joyous occasion in the city's Boystown neighborhood, but this year, the parties and parades are taking on added meaning in the wake of that landmark ruling.

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Friday night, Boystown is united in celebration, with supporters of same sex marriage dancing in the streets.

At The Center on Halsted, revelers toasted the Supreme Court ruling at the annual Pride and Joy Party.

"When I was younger and just coming out of the closet, I never thought this day would come," said Greg Baird.

News of the court's ruling went viral on social media. On Facebook more than 10 million postings, likes, and shares were posted in the hour after the ruling, which is giving added meaning to this year's pride weekend.

"Marriage equality is something that should have been common sense. It's long overdue. But here we are," said Megan Ensley.

"I can't thank the gay and lesbian community enough for waging this battle, so we finally have a set of laws that actually reflect what we are trying to teach our children at home," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago's 46th Annual Pride Parade will be held Sunday.

Just as vocal are critics of the ruling, who accuse the high court of bending to popular opinion.

"You're going to see children in schools, which is happening now, children in school being taught that homosexual marriage is a good thing against their parents' religious belief," said Ralph Rivera, Illinois Family Institute.

"I think that we are walking into a burning house because we're doing what's popular as opposed to doing what's right," said Bishop Lance Davis.

For Robert Castillo, this day is bittersweet. His longtime partner, John Pennycuff, died in 2012, a year before Illinois legalized same sex marriage.

"You do love even after death, " Castillo said. "It's been three years, and I miss John every day. We were together 21 years, and I'm glad that finally everybody in the United States is able to have that marriage."

The 2015 parade theme, "Color Our World with Pride," will be used in Chicago and other cities around the world.

This year, more security and alcohol restrictions can be expected. The parade route starts at Montrose and North Broadway and travels south to end at Diversey and Sheridan Road. There will also be a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol along the parade route. Fines for open containers along the route could be as much as $1,000.

An estimated 1 million people attended last summer's event, drawing hundreds of police citations and damaging a police vehicle. Parade organizers are beefing up security by hiring 90 extra off-duty police officers.

ABC 7 Chicago will broadcast Chicago's 46th Annual Pride Parade 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 am. It will also be available on-demand at