For first time at Pride Pa­rade, cou­ples ex­change vows on floats

Post-Tribune - - Post-tribune local - BY JON SEI­DEL Email: jsei­[email protected]­times.com Twit­ter: @ Sei­delCon­tent

They danced and cheered.

They did cart­wheels, waved fl ags, kissed cops and greeted ev­ery open palm with a high-five.

But for the first time — in front of what might have been the largest crowd in the his­tory of Chicago’s Pride Pa­rade — they also got mar­ried.

That pleased Ash­ley Bar­ton, who hails from In­di­ana and was among what Chicago of­fi­cials es­ti­mate were more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple who came out to watch the 45th an­nual pa­rade. It kicked off less than a month af­ter same- sex mar­riage be­came le­gal in Illi­nois.

“We’re on the win­ning side now,” Bar­ton said.

Pa­rade co­or­di­na­tor Richard Pfeif­fer said the of­fi­cial crowd to­tal tops last year’s es­ti­mate of 850,000 to 1 mil­lion peo­ple. He said this year’s pa­rade had 210 en­tries, 70 of which were fl oats. And atop some of those, he said same- sex cou­ples were say­ing their vows.

It’s all a far cry from the first Pride Pa­rade — which Pfeif­fer de­scribed as 150 peo­ple march­ing down the side­walk.

“It’s a dif­fer­ent world we live in now,” Pfeif­fer said. “Back then peo­ple were afraid to be on cam­era.”

This year the pa­rade i ncluded more mil­i­tary en­tries and more proud par­ents of LGBT chil­dren, Pfeif­fer said. There were also march­ing bands, mo­tor­cy­cles, bag­pipers, ball oons and rain­bow fl ags aplenty.

When all was said and done, Chicago po­lice said there were few in­ci­dents de­spite the size of the crowd. They said they made eight ar­rests, in­clud­ing one for crim­i­nal dam­age to a po­lice ve­hi­cle.

Sixty elected of­fi­cials took part, Pfeif­fer said, i nclud­ing Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn and Cook County Board Pres­i­dent Toni Preck­win­kle. Chicago Po­lice Supt. Garry McCarthy, who suf­fered a heart at­tack ear­lier this month, also rode i n the pa­rade.

Be­fore it be­gan, Emanuel said the le­gal­iza­tion of gay mar­riage is im­por­tant to him as a par­ent.

“We can raise our kids in a so­ci­ety where the val-ues you teach at home, re-spect­ing dif­fer­ences, a real so shared in our soci-ety as a whole,” Emanuel said.

| ASH­LEE REZIN/FOR SUN-TIMES ME­DIA

Crista Con­fil­iano (left) and Kay­lene Polansk at­tend the 45th An­nual Chicago Gay Pride Pa­rade on Sun­day near Mon­trose Av­enue and Broad­way Street.

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