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Asbury Park, N.J., celebrates largest LGBT Pride turnout ever

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Participants march in the LGBT pride parade in Asbury Park, N.K. on Sunday, June 1 , 2014.

ASBURY PARK, N.J. — More than 40 groups participated in Sunday’s LGBT pride parade in Asbury Park, N.J., as spectators were treated to the rhythm of marching bands, chants of “We love our LGBT,” and groups decked out rainbow attire.

Organizers and community members say this year’s pride events in New Jersey are more meaningful to the gay community because of the passage of same-sex marriage into law in 2013.

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“I’ve been involved since the beginning, and you can’t help but reflect back on what’s happened in the past year and what’s happened since the beginning, when we first started,” Jersey Pride president Laura Pople of Jackson told the Asbury Park Press.

Pople said the event attracted more than 20,000 people, more than years past.

While the tone remains full of pride and excitement, Pople said they also remember those who were lost to HIV and AIDS through a memorial quilt project that is on display at the festival.

“We’ve come a very long way. We owe a big debt to the people who resisted police at Stonewall to really get the ball rolling,” said Luisa Pastor, 66, of the Ocean Grove section of Neptune.

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