Two Los Angeles men’s plans to celebrate their gay marriage on a float in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade has sparked controversy and a boycott.
Danny Leclair, 45, and Aubrey Loots, 42, will marry “atop a giant wedding cake-shaped float” sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
“Love comes in many forms and should be honored and should be celebrated,” Leclair told the Star-News, echoing the float’s theme, “Love is the Best Protection.”
But San Diego resident Karen Grube told the Star-News that the Tournament of Roses shouldn’t be involved in an outside group’s “political agenda.”
“Gay marriage is illegal in over 30 states. Why would they promote something that is blatantly illegal?” Grube said. “That’s just stupid.”
She has launched a Facebook page, “Boycott the 2014 Rose Parade,” telling people to contact parade organizers and sponsors to ask that the float be removed.
“It used to be a family thing, to get up on New Year’s Day morning and watch the parade,” Grube said. “It no longer is.”
Parade officials issued a statement to the Star-News saying:
“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 — as this float does.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein denied the non-profit was making a political statement, saying the “the law of the land” should be respected. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional in June, making same-sex marriage legal in California.
“There are as many opinions in the world as there are people, but our motivation is to validate the love that exists between same-sex couples and what we believe is the importance of validating these relationships in terms of protecting, particularly gay men from HIV and other STDs,” Weinstein told Star-News. “We think the more we promote stable, long-term relationships, the better it will be.”
Ralph E. Shaffer, a professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona, disagreed, telling the Star-News the wedding is an “in your face” act, and could cause a backlash of opposition toward gays.
“The problem is going to be the wedding kiss,” Shaffer said, adding that the couple will likely kiss many times along the parade route. “I don’t know what the response is going to be.”
Watch this report via ABCNews:
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