ABC News On Campus reporter Michelle San Miguel blogs:
A sea of people carrying rainbow-colored umbrellas paraded down the streets of downtown Syracuse Saturday as marchers celebrated the 21st annual Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day. The estimated crowd of nearly 700 people attended the event despite the overcast and rainy weather. The festival began in front of City Hall, as Syracuse Common Council President Bea Gonzalez read a statement from Syracuse Mayor Matthew Driscoll. Shortly after, a rainbow flag was raised above the cheering crowd. This year marks the eighth year the flag was raised in front of City Hall. Before that, there was widespread disagreement about whether the flag should be erected downtown for hundreds to see. Grand marshals Amit Taneja and Adrea Jaehnig of the Syracuse University LGBT Resource Center led the parade’s “Equality…Nothing More” themed-celebration. Members of the LGBT community and their allies paraded through the streets carrying signs that read statements such as “All families deserve equality” and “Who voted on your marriage?” Minnie Bruce Pratt, a Syracuse University Women’s and Gender Studies professor, said she remembers in years past when people used to wear paper bags over their heads during similar marches because, if recognized, they could lose custody of their children and lose their jobs. The parade comes at a time when issues of gay-rights legislation are waiting to be voted on in Albany. Last month the New York State Assembly passed a bill to legalize gay marriage. The measure is pending in the State Senate, where Republicans and Democrats are struggling for control. Joan Kump, a liberal arts major at Syracuse University who identifies as a member of the LGBT community,is hoping the bill will be passed. “If you have two people who are in love and committed to each other, why shouldn’t they have the same rights as everyone else?” The event attracted people beyond the LGBT community. Michael Mudge was there with his Unitarian church carrying a sign that read “Another Straight New Yorker for LGBT Equality and Justice.” Mudge says he does not understand why people disagree with LGBT people marrying.
“I don’t know why everyone cares. If you have a problem with it, just don’t do it.”Kump agreed, saying, “I’m not asking to be married in my grandmother’s church, but I just want to have the same rights if I fall in love with a woman as if I fall in love with a man.”