Days after the dismantlement of the Defense of Marriage Act in a landmark Supreme Court ruling, the celebration is still going strong in the streets of New York City.
Thousands of people flooded Fifth Avenue this afternoon, decked out in every imaginable shade, waving rainbow flags in varying amounts of clothing for the city’s annual gay pride parade. Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case which ultimately led to the dismantlement of DOMA, was among three Grand Marshals who oversaw the proceedings.
Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who was also on hand, sent the crowd into a fervor as he approached the historic site of the Stonewall Inn at the end of the route. Carrying a megaphone and a massive rainbow flag, Mr. Weiner exuberantly rushed down the street engaging the crowd with his energy and championing gay rights.
“Weiner, Weiner!” the spectators chanted as they pushed against metal fences flanking the parade route while the former congressman walked down Christopher Street.
“We love Weiner and you can quote me on that!” shouted 25-year-old Justin Curtis after Mr. Weiner passed, flanked by a slew of supporters who followed in his footsteps, holding a “Weiner!” sign that stretched the length of the street itself.
“You guys know that’s my name right?” Mr. Weiner offered at one point. “We’re not just saying that.”
This time, Mr. Weiner ditched the flamboyant, bright pants he’s been wearing to events in favor of a blue button-down shirt. He had arguably the largest flag at the parade, which he swung back and forth through the falling raindrops. The drizzle had little effect on the exuberant crowd gathered in the streets.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who would be the city’s first female and first openly gay mayor if she wins this fall, was also in attendance, leading a pack of hundreds of supporters that her campaign touted spanned three city blocks. Surrounded by three members of a security team dressed in suits and equipped with earpieces, Ms. Quinn jubilantly ran to each side of the street to greet supporters along the route.
Earlier, Ms. Quinn launched an “LGBT for Quinn” effort, unveiling a list of 1,700 LGBT campaign supporters, including television personality Tim Gunn, actor Neil Patrick Harris and former ‘N Sync-er, Lance Bass.
Ms. Quinn and Mr. Weiner, now the front-runners to receive the Democratic nomination for mayor, have both spent recent days courting the LGBT vote following the DOMA decision, after which thousands flocked to the site of the historic Stonewall riots.
Members of the crowd pointed to the heightened sense of importance days after the decision–and less than three months from primary day.
“This year, it was the most political it’s ever been,” said 39-year-old Adam Leskinen, who said he felt that Ms. Quinn had won over the crowd most, in large part thanks to the massive group of supporters that marched with her.
“Her followers were huge. She’s very personable. Most of [the candidates] are. It’ll be an interesting race,” Mr. Leskinen said.
But others said they were put off by the actions of some members of her camp.
“I don’t like Quinn because they just came up and stickered me. They didn’t even ask if I wanted it,” said Mr. Curtis, who told Politicker that someone had plastered a Quinn sticker on his body without his consent. He also said Mr. Weiner’s camp was more lively than Ms. Quinn’s.
Melissa Mazlin, 24, also took issue with Ms. Quinn’s supporters.
“The Quinn people left all their signs and upset all the cops,” she said, pointing to a pile of signs left on the corner of the road at the end of the parade route. “That looks really bad if everything is laying out. If they took signs with them, it’d be much more organized and professional. So unprofessional right there.”
It was unclear whether the campaign ended up moving them at any later point.
The New York Police Department had more to worry about that signs, though. One officer told Politicker that they had increased security this year compared to last because of the DOMA ruling. And at the corner of 10th Street and Bleecker Street, members of the NYPD and Fire Department attended to a man who had a bleeding gash on the side of his face. The man had approached them after getting into an altercation, the authorities said.
Also marching in the parade were anti-Quinn protesters carrying a large, yellow “LGBT against Quinn” sign–baffling at least one police officer, who was apparently a fan of Ms. Quinn.
“Who would be against Quinn?” he asked.
See the crowd near Stonewall chant as Mr. Weiner walked by:
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/69426155 w=500&h=281]