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Religion, Elizabeth Edwards make ‘gay pride’ headlines

NEW YORK CITY (BP)–“Gay pride,” it seems, got a dose of religion on Sunday, June 24. And some media were quick to put it into headlines.

“Religious groups lead New York gay pride parade,” an International Herald Tribune headline, for example, declared atop an Associated Press report on the June 24 “gay pride” march in New York City.

According to the AP report: “Religious groups including Christians, Jews and Buddhists led the New York gay pride parade, lending gravity to the often outrageous event that celebrates the night [in June 1969] patrons of a gay bar in Manhattan resisted a police raid….

“As in past years, there was exhibitionism on display as the parade inched down Fifth Avenue and into Greenwich Village. Revelers gyrated in bikini briefs and marched in spike heels,” the AP recounted. “But the placement of the religious organizations near the head of the march — ahead of AIDS service groups and political advocacy groups — gave them unaccustomed prominence.”

The infusion of religion into the “gay pride” parade came just days after one of the New York legislature’s two chambers passed a bill authorizing “gay marriage.” The push in the Democrat-controlled New York Assembly for same-sex unions — endorsed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer — is not expected to extend into the state’s Republican-controlled Senate.

Meanwhile, at a breakfast prior to San Francisco’s “gay pride” parade, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, declared, “I’m completely comfortable with gay marriage,” and acknowledged she was at odds with her husband, who supports only “civil unions,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“John has been pretty clear about it, that he is very conflicted,” Edwards said of her husband after delivering a keynote address at San Francisco’s Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club.

“That’s up against his being raised in the 1950s in a rural southern town,” Edwards continued. “I think honestly he’s on a road with a lot of people in this country…. They’re struggling with this. Most of the gay and lesbian people I know … have seen their friends and family walking down that same road.”

No major presidential candidate or spouse had ever taken part in San Francisco’s “gay pride” parade, the Chronicle added.

At Sunday’s parade in New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential independent candidate for president, marched alongside City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whom the AP described as “one of the nation’s most prominent openly gay elected officials.”

“All conventional wisdom in New York state on gay marriage is out the window,” Quinn was quoted by the AP as saying. “I think we are really doing better than anyone would ever have thought we could be doing on this.”

Among the religious components of the New York “gay pride” parade were its grand marshals: Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, a homosexual-oriented denomination that claims to be in the Christian sphere, and a lesbian rabbi, Sharon Kleinbaum of New York City’s Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, described by the AP as “the world’s largest predominantly gay synagogue.”

Members of Dignity, a movement of homosexuals within the Roman Catholic Church, brought a float and a giant “rainbow” flag for the parade, the AP reported.

Otherwise, the rest of the parade was business as usual along Fifth Avenue.

“Floats that one might expect at a Gay Pride Parade decorated the avenue such as: Gay Male S&M Activists (complete with whips and chains)…,” a writer reported for one alternative website.

“Speedos, shaking bare behinds, young men with their pants down around their knees wearing bikini undies … satisfied the crowd’s shock expectations,” the writer, Rene Morway, recounted. Morway also described a man costumed as a male organ “acting out fornication” with a supposed woman with oversized balloon bosoms.

“Many prominent businesses and organizations such as Verizon, Google, StarBucks, JP Morgan Chase, Macy’s, ACLU, NYPD and FDNY participated in the hoopla along with local bars, radio stations, realtors and just about every type of business imaginable. They contributed an array of floats blaring eclectic lively music and dirty dancers baring almost all.

“The ‘Males au Naturel’ voiced their sentiments with signs that read, ‘Nude isn’t Lewd, If I can Naked Here, I’ll Naked Anywhere, and Viva la de Nudiste Revolution.’ Other than strategically placed signs, and in some cases shoes, they were males entirely au naturel….” Morway described how this group would stop periodically to march in place in view of the crowd lining the streets.

An unnamed writer for one homosexual-oriented website bubbled: “One of the most uplifting things about the parade, we thought, were all the children we saw. Perhaps we had never noticed before, but it seemed as if there were more children than ever before.”

In a check of major news networks, Baptist Press found no comments from the mayor, the religious groups or corporate sponsors expressing regret at the needless exposure of children to the lewd scenes prevalent throughout the parade.

“Amid the music-blaring floats, strutting drag queens, flowing costumes, bouncing bare butts, twirling purple umbrellas, floating bubbles and balloon rainbows serious statements were made,” Morway noted. “Sentiments such as ‘Fight HIV, proud to be homeless, proud to be sick, get vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, and Cures not Wars’ resonated through the air along with pro-gay marriage and adoption rights, pro-condom, anti-circumcision, and anti-war statements to name a few.”

“And, of course, we saw every color, texture and shape of person imaginable,” the unnamed writer added. “Asian, African, South American — you name it, they were there: an inspiring sight, to say the least. We may write on gays everyday, but it’s beyond refreshing to see our awesome power. Seriously, if given the chance, gays could lead the world into new territory. We cut across every social group — every race, class, religion, geographic region, nationality. Incredible.”

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