Huge turnout expected for San Francisco's Pride weekend


Two of the Prop 8 plaintiffs returned home to the Bay Area Thursday. Berkeley couple Sandy Stier and Kris Perry flew into the area in the afternoon. They were in Washington D.C. on Wednesday for the Supreme Court same-sex marriage decisions.

Stier and Perry are excited to be back home and they're also excited about pride. They told us Thursday night that they'll be marching in Sunday's parade.

"This is a very special year to be in the parade and we're very honored to be included," said Stier.

Stier and partner Perry returned to the Bay Area to hugs and congratulations. They and a Southern California couple were plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case and Thursday night were still reveling in their victory.

"People say thank you to us, and we say thank you to them. I mean, we were the lucky ones who got to be in this case which was an amazing thing, but this would never have happened if it weren't for many, many years of everybody doing their part," said Stier.

The excitement over the Prop 8 and DOMA rulings was evident at the night's pride events. The parties have begun.

A million people typically attend Pride, but organizers expect nearly a quarter million more people this Sunday as a result of the Supreme Court decisions. AIDS and LGBT activist Cleve Jones says this will be his 41st year attending Pride.

Kim: "Do you think this will be the most important Pride weekend?"
Jones: "I do and I think it's going to be enormous."

And when Pride's all over, the excitement will continue for Perry and Stier. They're going to get married.

Kim: "Have you picked a date?
Perry: "We will get married the first day you can get married. We don't know where, we don't know when, but we know we will."

People are already coming in from all over the world and organizers believe this could be a record breaking year because this LGBT community has a lot to celebrate.

They're gluing, painting, and stapling the floats you'll watch winding down Market Street on Sunday, "I'm so energized from learning that information yesterday," volunteer Christina Jackson said.

The celebration started Wednesday night, as thousands flooded the city's Castro neighborhood to celebrate two major Supreme Court rulings striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop. 8.

On Thursday Senator Dianne Feinstein reintroduced a measure that would repeal DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, even though the Supreme Court struck down a key part of that act as unconstitutional.

The high court ruled that legally married gay couples must receive the same federal tax, social security and health and other benefits as heterosexual couples.

Feinstein says more than 1,000 federal laws affected by DOMA still need to be fixed. She said repealing it will make sure the inequities are gone forever.

The news is still sinking in for San Francisco resident Leland Castro, "I would like to be in the moment, yeah," he said. "It's kinda hard, funny, after waiting so long it's hard to be in the moment. But yeah, just be in the moment."

That information about is U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage, combined with the toasty weather, equals a huge turnout predicted for this weekend's Pride celebration in San Francisco.

Already the largest in the nation at one million, organizers expect nearly a quarter million more this Sunday.

"Folks want to celebrate and acknowledge a really historic win, not just for the LGBT movement, but for society at large," said SF Pride CEO Earl Plante.

The celebrations have already begun at Cafe Flore, a Castro neighborhood institution.

"We actually ran out of beer last night so we've, like, tripled our order for the coming three days Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, especially Saturday," restaurant manager Ian O'Hare said. When asked how much beer they might sell he answered, "Last night I think we went through something like thirty-plus cases, which is a lot."

Everyone is gearing up, including the police. What was done for Bay to Breakers and the San Francisco Marathon, the new normal following the Boston bombings, will be in full effect.

"The police department is prepared by adding additional staffing both in uniformed capacity as well as plain clothes capacity," SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza said. "This will be along the parade route, this will be at Pink Saturday, this will be at Civic Center, this will be at the Castro."

And Pride organizers say because Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and other elected officials will ride in the parade, secret service will be on hand.

Rock Medicine, a 40-year-old organization that usually helps with music events, will also be there for the first time.

"From MD's to RN's, nurse practitioners, PA's, EMT's, people that just have CPR skills who care about people and want to be involved," said Gordon Oldham with Rock Medicine.

Sydney, Australia has the largest Pride parade. But this year San Francisco could set a record.

The San Francisco Police Department expects this weekend to be safe and peaceful, but they urge the public to report anything they see that's suspicious to police. They also urge anyone planning on attending the parade to take public transportation.

The Pride weekend festivities culminate with the parade on Sunday. It takes off from Beale and Market streets at 10:30 a.m., runs down Market Street, and ends with a day-long rally at San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza.

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