New York gay parade celebrates pride, marriage law

The parade, an annual tradition here celebrating diversity and tolerance, streams past the historic Stonewall Inn in Manhattan's West Village, where riots broke out 42 years ago after police raided the gay-friendly bar, sparking what has become the modern day US gay rights movement.

The area was also the site of impromptu celebrations late Friday as supporters cheered the passing of the "Marriage Equality Act," signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after months of wrangling in the state between supporters and opponents who objected largely religious grounds.

The passage made New York the sixth and largest US state where gay couples can legally wed, once the bill takes effect in 30 days.

"This is good news. Now we need it at the federal level," New York resident Anthony Losanno, 32, told AFP today as the parade kicked off.

For many, today's parade was the culmination of a weekend of hard partying, since raucous celebrations exploded Friday night after the law was passed, with gay rights supporters chanting and dancing in the streets of New York City into the pre-dawn hours.
The pride march, which began around midday (1600 GMT), was expected to attract over 300,000 local residents and visitors, and some 350 groups participating in the parade, according to organizers

Gay pride marches were meanwhile taking place throughout Latin America today, including a huge 15,000-strong parade in Mexico City -- the first city in the region to legalise same-sex marriage and give adoption rights to those couples.

New York followed the path of Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont in approving gay marriage after a March poll found that 53 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing gay marriage.

Some states like California offer same-sex civil unions, but not marriage rights. That means the parties have some legal rights like married couples but not all.

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