Two groups of LGBT activists joined the annual Easter Parade along Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday to remember victims of antigay bias and to demand full civil rights including marriage equality.
According to a news release, members of Queer Rising and Connecting Rainbows formed two processions among the throngs in Easter bonnets on Fifth Avenue between 44th and 57th Streets and converged in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral. They carried signs with photos of people killed or driven to suicide because of antigay hate and bullying.
"Activists picked Easter Sunday to increase their visibility in front of the Catholic Church because last month, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, other Bishops, and other Catholics of New York State traveled to Albany to lobby state leaders on March 8th and 9th to 'oppose efforts to redefine marriage,'" said the news release. The statement added that some Catholics at Easter services in New York City received a flier opposing marriage equality in advance of an anticipated vote in the legislature this spring.
In addition to the procession, two gay Catholics, Brendan Fay and William Burger, entered St. Patrick's Cathedral at noon to light candles while co-organizer Louis Flores spoke outside the church. Watch video of the events below.
The New York Times reports that about 25 people joined the protest, which received a largely warm response from onlookers. A recent study from the Public Religion Research Institute found that 74% of American Catholics support the right of same-sex couples to marry or form civil unions.