Gay revelers celebrate pride


This year's celebration has taken on extra meaning, following the California Supreme Court's decision to legalize /*same-sex marriage*/ and the state ballot measure designed to strike it down this fall.

Organizers say this is the biggest parade ever, since close to one million people came. The attendance this year is up due to the number of same sex couples coming from all over the nation here to San Francisco to get legally married.

Organizers will use those numbers to fight the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages this November.

Sunday's /*Gay Pride Parade*/ began with the usual contingent of Dykes on Bikes. More than 300 motorcycles scooters and bicycles led the 38th annual gay pride celebration.

Conspicuous were some of the hundreds of same-sex couples who have come to San Francisco to legally tie the knot.

"We're getting married in September our 15th anniversary," said bride to be Rebecca Temple.

Temple and Cathy Sizeler got married in 2004 but had that marriage overturned. They don't want a proposed constitutional amendment to make that happen again.

"It's really time for people to stop wasting their time on hateful ignorant behavior and anger," said Temple.

Mayor /*Gavin Newsom*/ championed same-sex marriages in California. He was joined by several notables like /*Cyndi Lauper*/.

The naked, semi-naked and colorfully costumed marchers had 11-year-old Shannon Mo of Davis stunned.

"It's really cool," said Mo.

In addition to supporting same-sex marriage Sunday's event had several other missions once it arrived at Civic Center.

"We need to elect pro-LGBT candidates in the senate and the house and we have to defeat the marriage ban here in November," said David Smith from the Human Rights Campaign.

The group is also supporting Barack Obama in the November presidential election.

"We'll be mobilizing our members all over the country. We have 750,000 members and supporters nationwide and we'll be mobilizing them all for this election," said Smith.

Disease prevention is a major issue. Hepatitis A and B vaccinations were made available for $10.

"Gay men tend to be at greater risk than the general population for these two diseases because they are sexually transmitted," said health worker Janet Zola.

The AIDS Foundation points out that between 800 to 1,000 new HIV aids infections occur in the city each year. The foundation is trying to make prevention a priority in the minds of gay couples.

"But every four years, the majority of that population turns over so we have to start over again .it's an ongoing challenge," said Dave Ellison from the AIDS Foundation.

There was no evidence of any anti-gay protests during the parade or at events at Civic Center. Organizers of the event told ABC7 News that the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau told them that hotel occupancy in San Francisco was up to an unprecedented 100 percent due to this weekend events.

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