News (USA)

Rose Parade will go on with gay wedding, despite San Diego woman’s boycott

Eric Reed, AP/AIDS Healthcare FoundationAubrey Loots, left, and Danny Leclair, with notary Marilyn Townsend, display their signed marriage certificate just days before their Rose Parade wedding.
Eric Reed, AP/AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Aubrey Loots, left, and Danny Leclair, with notary Marilyn Townsend, display their signed marriage certificate just days before their Rose Parade wedding.

PASADENA, Calif. — The 125-year-old annual New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade will go on, despite a San Diego woman’s campaign calling for a boycott because two Los Angeles men will be married atop a float themed “Love is the Best Protection.”

Danny Leclair and Aubrey Loots plan to marry on top of the cake-shaped float, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to celebrate marriage equality victories in 2013, including Supreme Court decisions upholding the repeal of California’s Proposition 8 and striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Foundation spokesman Ged Kenslea said the organization supports legally sanctioning same-sex marriage because it encourages more stable relationships among gay men as well as behavior that will prevent the spread of HIV.

Karen Grube
Karen Grube

But San Diego resident Karen Grube has launched a Facebook campaign in protest of the planned wedding ceremony, and is asking people to stay home and turn off the TV to boycott the parade and the float’s marriage equality message, reports the Pasadena Star-News.

“Gay marriage is illegal in over 30 states, why would they promote something that is blatantly illegal?” Grube said. “That’s just stupid.”

Ralph E. Shaffer, a professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona, also told the Star-News that the “in your face” gay wedding ceremony could ultimately be detrimental to the marriage equality cause.

“The problem is going to be the wedding kiss,” Shaffer said. “I don’t know what the response is going to be,” he said.

Leclair, 45, and Loots, 42, have been together 12 years; the couple won a contest to wed on the AHF’s float, and say the negative reaction over the wedding has not diminished their enthusiasm for their special day.

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“There’s a lot of people who think we’re doing this as a political statement,” Leclair said. “It couldn’t be further from the truth. Our stance is love is love and love will save lives.”

Leclair said he hopes his wedding, which will be broadcast around the world to an estimated 68 million people, will show people that same-sex marriage isn’t something to fear.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which puts on the parade, said in a statement that it is proud to have the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s float, adding it clearly represents this year’s parade theme, “Dreams Come True.”

“Like all of our sponsors and float designers, AHF continues to help make the Rose Parade a premier event through original and creative expressions that connect to parade themes,” the statement said.

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