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Southern Maine Pride Parade and Festival

Parade Grand Marshall, State Senator Dennis Damon (video of his remarks at the festival below the fold).

From Portland Press Herald:

PORTLAND – A large crowd lined Congress Street and the route to Deering Oaks on Saturday for the first Southern Maine Pride Parade since Maine’s lawmakers voted to allow gays and lesbians to marry in the state.

Although the marriage law is still not in effect and opponents are gathering signatures to try to force a vote on the issue, Maine’s decision to join a growing list of states allowing homosexual marriage gave this year’s parade and other events a little extra meaning. That helped draw a larger crowd than in the past.

Monument Square was filled with people, including a large group that carried a long rainbow banner in the parade. The sidewalks were packed with people cheering various organizations. In some spots the crowd was four and five deep.

And yes, Lurleen- there was a bunch of gals on motorcycles. ūüėČ

More below, including video of Senator Damon speaking to the crowds at Deering Oaks.

Gay rights advocates have yet to score a same-sex marriage victory at the polls and are eager to do so in Maine, said Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, the state’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered advocacy group.

Equally as determined are opponents of gay marriage, who announced last week they had hired the public relations firm that worked on the successful Proposition 8 campaign in California to work to overturn same-sex marriage here.

But worries about a tough campaign didn’t seem to diminish enthusiasm for the events Saturday. Mark Holt, the coordinator of Southern Maine Pride, said the parade attracted a record number of participants. Nearly 700 people, representing 60 groups, registered to march, he said.

I’d say that the total number of people attending Southern Maine Pride (parade participants, supporters, folks at the festival etc) numbered easily into the thousands.

Here are the remarks of Senator Damon:

This is why I so love my state- well done, Senator, and thank you!


Now, just some fun shots of the day:

The EQME parade participants (before I joined them)- over 70 volunteers with clipboards are not pictured, as they were on the sidewalks and working the crowds:

Darlene Huntress and Betsy Smith of EQME, our fearless leaders- Betsy leaped into the moving Jeep preceding the EQME banner at about the same time I joined the parade. They had us waving and encouraging the crowds, chanting “NO ON ONE!” and “What Do We Want? MARRIAGE! When Do We Want It? NOW!”, all the way down the hill and into the park.

Forgive the miserable video, but I think one gets the general idea of the size of the crowds and levels of support. Click on link.

Had a nice conversation with MaineTransNet– contact them and show them some love, huh?

From the parade… a shot of Maine Gay Men Chorus, who later rocked the place on stage. Great job!

Blender Dawn in MDI, Laura, and the mighty (tired) Quinn, their rescue min-pin… normally she is a formidable defender of Momma Dawn’s pickup truck, but today she was just pooped out!

FWIW, when going to this large of an event, I am NOT going to again make the mistake of “look for a couple with a dog”– it was a freaking convention of folks meeting that description! Including this adorable pug:

This was a nice one…

Living art- they were completely still, unless money was placed in the basket. Then they silently kissed gently for one second and resumed their statuesque pose. For HOURS.

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