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毎日新聞 2006年6月26日 10時57分 （最終更新時間 6月26日 11時30分）
Gay rights on parade in cities across America
by Catherine Hours
Sunday June 25, 2006
Thousands of marchers from New York's homosexual community took part in the city's annual Gay Pride parade, although high spirit were dampened slightly by recent conservative efforts to reverse political gains by US gays and lesbians.
Paraders, in the customary display or flounces and finery generally were in a jubilant mood. But some revelers said they were mindful that the parade this year coincides with the 25th anniversary of the emergence of the deadly AIDS epidemic that decimated America's gay communities.
The theme of this year's procession is "The Fight for Love and Life" marking the somber anniversary.
"AIDS isn't over until it's over for everyone," read one banner. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, in his weekly radio address urged city residents to undergo HIV testing.
"AIDS has taken the lives of nearly 90,000 New Yorkers. We should never forget that for too long, fear, ignorance, and neglect allowed AIDS to flourish, contributing to its deadly toll in our communities," the New York mayor said.
In the middle of the afternoon Sunday, the celebrating paused for a minute of silence in honor of those who have died from the dread disease.
America's gay communities have been rocked by several setbacks in recent weeks.
The US Episcopal Church backtracked Wednesday by asking its local diocese to "exercise restraint" in the controversial ordination of gay clergy, in an attempt to avoid a split in the global Anglican church.
And gay rights activists were outraged last week after a controversial Pentagon document reaffirmed a finding that classified homosexuality as a "mental disorder," along with mental retardation and personality disorders.
And while the US Senate earlier this month narrowly rejected a measure calling for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage -- a measure strongly backed by conservative US President George W. Bush -- Christian conservatives bent on outlawing same sex marriage have prevailed in numerous individual US states in recent months.
Massachusetts is the only state to allow gay marriage after its supreme court legalized it in May 2004.
Six states are scheduled to vote on same-sex marriage bans in November of this year -- Idaho, Virginia, Wisconsin, South Dakota, South Carolina and Tennessee -- and all are deemed likely to pass the prohibitions on gay marriage.
The gay marriage issue in particular seemed to be on the minds of many protesters who streamed along the length of 5th Avenue, New York City's Main Street, with some participants wearing tee shirts declaring "Marry Me: It's about time."
"It's a hot topic, because it's like the last hurdle before we can achieve equal rights," said Phil Mannino, co-chair of New York's "Heritage of Pride" group which organized the gay pride march.
He blamed the George W. Bush administration's conservative policies for much of the retrenchment gay people are experiencing.
"He tries to use this thing to try to distract the public from other things like the war in Iraq or the growing gasoline prices," Mannino said, adding that on the long list of issues that ail America "is a larger problem than same-sex marriage.
Hugh Lukehart, who attended the march with his wife Tracy who sported a "Dykes Against Bush" tee shirt, railed against what he said was the current administration's anti-gay policies.
"I'm for equal rights, and I'm very unhappy (with the government). They're using a fear factor, they capitalize on fear," he said.
Another marcher, Sandy Colon, who has lived with her partner for some 22 years, said that gay marriage is a top concern for her too.
"Love is love, and we just want equal rights like anybody else," said Colon, who is raising a four-year old daughter with her partner.
Observers said that even as gay people proudly celebrate their sexual identity every June -- gay pride month -- they know it is also a month when they have to be on their guard.
The pointed to the case of Kevin Aviance, a celebrated gay singer who was attack and badly beaten in Manhattan earlier this month by four youths shouting anti-gay slogans.
Gay pride parades held across nation
By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Hundreds of thousands of raucous parade-goers took to the streets from New York to San Francisco on Sunday for annual gay pride parades, just weeks after an attack on a popular gay singer in New York and the 25th anniversary of the start of the AIDS epidemic.
Outrageous costumes were the norm along the parade routes.
In New York, the floats and marchers turned Fifth Avenue into a sea of rainbows.
"Everyone else has a chance to express their affection freely, and for one day in New York, you can be free and not feel ashamed or embarrassed," said Roberto Hermosilla of Miami, who was attending his ninth parade.
Thousands lined Market Street for San Francisco's 36th annual Gay Pride parade. Marching bands, dancers and floats bearing corporate logos of such companies as Delta Airlines and Wells Fargo streamed by.
"There's much greater acceptance in corporate America," said Michael Crowe, 63, who said high-profile corporate sponsorship is new to the event.
One float carried a bearded man, wearing a white lace miniskirt and fishnet stockings, who sang Madonna's "Like a Virgin" as a band backed him. A half-dozen men dressed in underwear and top hats danced behind him.
The New York parade marked the very public and triumphant return of singer Kevin Aviance, who rode atop a fake pachyderm and a circus-themed float weeks after the drag queen was viciously beaten. Police have charged four young men, ages 16 to 20, with assaulting the artist while yelling anti-gay slurs.
Wearing a top hat, jacket, red stilettos, and little else, Aviance waved to the crowds, his mouth still wired shut from a fractured jaw he suffered in the attack.
The theme of New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride March was "The Fight for Love and Life," but there was plenty of talk about hate following the Aviance attack. The city's police department said reports of anti-gay bias crimes totaled 25 through mid-June — compared with 19 over the same period in 2005.
"A few hateful homophobes will not set us back," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay and marched in the parade.
The parades took place just weeks after the 25th anniversary of the start of the AIDS epidemic, and city leaders used the event to call for a greater focus on combating HIV and AIDS.
In Atlanta, one of the largest parades in the country moved through the city as thunder clouds threatened_ what some saw as a metaphor for the legal storm brewing this week over gay marriage.
Georgia's Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments on whether to reinstate a constitutional ban on gay marriages.
"I have a lot of friends that are gay, and I would like to see them enjoy the same kind of equality and benefits as everyone else," said Laura Martin, 25, an Atlanta waitress dressed in black lingerie who rode on an adult novelty shop float featuring a large bed.
Thousands gathered for the 25th Stonewall Columbus parade in Ohio. Michael Eblin, marching in his first parade, followed a black Hummer pulling a float of men. A cross-dresser in a beaded white gown perched atop the vehicle, holding a sign reading "The Closet."
"For the first time, I'm going to be part of a majority," the 18-year-old Eblin said just before the parade began.
A boy along the route wearing blue tie-dye held up a sign: "2 Moms. 2 Dads. Too Cool."
The parades commemorate the Stonewall uprising of 1969, when patrons of a New York gay bar resisted a police raid.