NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of marchers and a rainbow of floats filled the streets of New York and other U.S. cities on Sunday as people celebrated gay pride, part of a weekend of events marred by a shooting death Saturday at a street party in San Francisco.
Participants in New York’s annual parade, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. David Paterson, made their way down Fifth Avenue toward the Greenwich Village neighborhood. Throngs of people turned out despite the heat and humidity on Sunday to watch the city’s annual parade.
One of the parade’s grand marshals was Constance McMillen, the lesbian teenager who sued her Mississippi school district over its policy banning same-sex prom dates.
San Francisco’s 40th annual gay pride weekend started Saturday at Civic Center Plaza, where thousands converged as vendors sold barbecue and burritos and DJs spun tunes on a large stage. The party later moved into the city’s Castro District for the “Pink Saturday” street party, where police said a 19-year-old man was killed and two others injured in a shooting late Saturday.
Police were investigating what led to the shooting but Officer Phil Gordon told the San Francisco Chronicle authorities did not believe it was a hate crime.
City leaders said based on the initial investigation they did not believe the violence would cause officials to cancel future gay pride events in the Castro.
A 2006 shooting at Halloween party in the Castro resulted in the halting of all subsequent city-sanctioned Halloween festivities there.
Thousands gathered to watch and participate in the city’s gay pride parade. The Backstreet Boys were due to perform and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, was scheduled to deliver a videotaped address to revelers.
Chicago’s parade included the first-ever float from the Cubs baseball team and an appearance by the Stanley Cup — National Hockey League’s championship trophy.
The Chicago Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup title since 1961 this year, and the parade marks the first time the trophy has been on display at a gay-themed event, according to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Phil Pritchard.
“We are thrilled that it worked out as it’s important for the city and important for the franchise,” Blackhawks spokesman Adam Rogowin said.