LGBT history will be made on January 1, 2014, when a same-sex wedding takes place atop the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float during the 125th Rose Parade, AHF announced today.
The wedding between Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair, both gay men from Los Angeles, will be a first for the Rose Parade. The couple’s display of their love and commitment to one another invokes the parade’s 2014 theme, “Dreams Come True,” as well as the theme of the AHF's float entry, “Love is the Best Protection,” which aims to celebrate same-sex marriage and the role it can play in helping to reduce new HIV infections among gay men. The Foundation's float will be designed to resemble a wedding cake, with each couple tying the knot atop the float as living cake-toppers.
"Having my relationship recognized legally is already a dream come true," said Leclair in a press release from AHF. "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.”
“It’s awe-inspiring to be committing your life to another person and to have millions of people bear witness," added Loots in the same releae. "I didn’t imagine this happening in my lifetime.”
Joining Loots and Leclair on the float will be lesbian couple Sharon Raphael and Nina Meyer, who have spent more than four decades together and were legally married in California in 2008.
“We are very proud to represent AIDS Healthcare Foundation and historic achievements in the struggle for marriage equality," said Raphael and Meyer in a statement. "After 42 years together, we can look back on five years of marriage, and now with DOMA overturned by the Supreme Court, we and other legally married gay couples are eligible for equal treatment from Social Security.”
In a press release, AHF's president Michael Weinstein added, “Today, as wedding bells ring for more and more gay and lesbian Americans like Aubrey and Danny, and Mina and Sharon, AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade float is proud to honor and celebrate those ‘Living the Dream,’ confident in the knowledge that love is indeed the best protection.”
Approximately 700,000 people attended the 2013 Rose Parade, and the celebration aired live on eight networks to more than 56 million viewers. The parade was also televised in 174 countries, which attracted an additional 28 million viewers, according to AHF's press release.