As a national annual celebration, Pride parades have occurred over the course of the entirety of this past weekend. This year, Chicago’s Pride Parade celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois. Over one million spectators gathered in the heart of Chicago for the event.
As the 45th Annual Pride Parade went underway this weekend, there were more reasons for Chicagoans to be joyous. This year marked the first city-wide event to celebrate same-sex marriage in Illinois. In Chicago’s North Shore and Boystown neighborhoods, Chicagoans and other tourists gathered on the streets as the LGBT community all came together.
Street closures took effect as early as 7 a.m. and parade goers started to gather around that time also to claim their spots. The Chicago Police Department acknowledged the crowds that there was a zero-tolerance for alcohol and drug usage within the vicinity of the celebration. Those who violated this would have received a $1000 fine. Rooftop gatherings along the parade routes were also prohibited. Spectators did express on various social media sources that crowds had become rowdy throughout the day.
According to the Chicago Police Department, there was a minimal amount of arrests. Only eight arrests were reported with one being physical damage to a police vehicle. Twenty-nine shooting incidents were reported in the city during the weekend but all were not connected to the Pride festivities.
The Pride Parade started at noon and lasted for three hours. It was also approximately four miles long through Chicago’s famous LGBT Boystown neighborhood. With extended public transportation hours and routes, the city experienced one of the busiest days this year so far. The streets became crowded and it was often a struggle to get from one location to another.
The Pride Parade this year had a more significant meaning to Illinois residents as Chicago celebrated same-sex marriage being legalized. For the first time, families gathered to celebrate their own same-sex marriages that have occurred since the bill started its signing process in November. The bill was not officially in effect until June 1. To add to the day, four couples were married on floats during the actual parade.
Many LGBT supports attended the event in grand and colorful attire. Spectators throughout the city appeared in attire to express themselves in an event focused on being true to oneself.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was among those who attended. Governor Quinn signed the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois last November and was applauded for his strong support for the LGBT community. This made Illinois the 16th state to sign for the Marriage Equality Legislation Bill. In honor of the signing, President Abraham Lincoln’s desk was transported from Springfield to the University of Illinois in Chicago for the signing ceremony. It is reported that it was the very desk where President Lincoln wrote the 1861 inaugural address.
This weekend, Chicago hosted their 45th annual Pride Parade in the heart of their LGBT neighborhoods. Over one million spectators flocked the streets for the parade. This year’s Pride Parade had more of a significance as Chicago celebrated same-sex marriage finally becoming legalized.
By Tricia Manalansan