PASADENA, CA, December 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – It’s the West Coast equivalent of New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – the world-famous Tournament of Roses Parade held each New Year’s Day in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena. The parade, featuring giant festive floats colored not with paint, but with millions of fresh-cut flowers, usually draws a huge crowd: Last year, an estimated 800,000 people showed up to watch in person, while another 80 million around the world watched on television.
This year, the event’s viewers will see more than just the family-friendly parade they’ve come to expect over the event’s more than 100-years-long history – they’ll also witness a controversial same-sex “wedding,” courtesy of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).
According to the Pasadena Star News, a pair of homosexual hair stylists will “marry” on the parade route while riding a wedding-cake shaped float sponsored by the AHF.
Danny Leclair, 45, and Aubrey Loots, 42, jointly own the DNA Salons hairstyling chain in Southern California.
Leclair, a Canadian, told the Star News that he and his South African-born boyfriend had not planned to get married any time soon, but after he entered a lottery to ride on the AHF’s float at a “gay wedding” expo last fall, his name was drawn and they jumped at the chance.
“Having my relationship recognized legally is already a dream come true," Leclair said in an AHF press release. "To be able to declare my love to the world at large in hopes of inspiring others to live proudly and authentically is an enormous honor."
The first ever Rose Parade wedding was in 1989, when Carrie Humphries and Ron Simms tied the knot while riding a float in front of what media reports called “one of the largest audiences ever to witness a wedding ceremony.”
Last January, a Virginia couple, Nicole Angelillo and Gerald Sapienza, became only the second couple to get hitched during the parade, after winning a contest put on by Farmers Insurance to get married on top of “The Love Float.”
Only heterosexual couples were eligible for the Farmers Insurance contest last year, since Proposition 8 had not yet been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The company had initially planned to repeat the contest and do another wedding themed float in 2014, but changed its mind shortly after launching the contest, announcing it would honor teachers with its float instead.