Gay Couple Becomes First to Marry in Rose Parade

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com January 01 2014 2:29 PM ET

Two gay men just said their "I do's" atop a giant wedding cake in the 125th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., despite some complaints from conservative groups. Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair, the real-life wedding cake toppers, were married on the float from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, whose theme was alternately "Love is Love" and (the scientifically unlikely) "Love is the Best Protection" from HIV and AIDS.

Though the Rose Parade hosted its first opposite-sex wedding in the 1890s, but this is the first time a same-sex couple has been able to marry in it. Since the Supreme Court struck down both Prop. 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year, the wedding is legal  and a significant reminder of this year's parade theme: "Dreams Come True."

“Having my relationship recognized legally is already a dream come true,” Leclaire told the San Francisco Chronicle. “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.”

In fact, being in the parade may have an impact far beyond the couple's social sphere. Since it is televised globally in more than 170 countries (not to mention the more than 700,000 people who crowd the parade route to watch the spectacle).

Prior to the parade, there was a Facebook group calling for a boycott of the event because of the wedding that had nearly 5,000 people, and staunch antigay advocates, including National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown, were very vocal in critizing parade organizers for allowing the same-sex wedding to "denigrate" the family-friendly event.

Still, at the actual parade, there was little (if any) visible protest seen as the couple said their nuptials along the parade route.