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Thousands march for gay pride in San Francisco

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POSTED June 25, 2012 1:35 a.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Loud sirens, flashing lights and countless rainbow flags and banners accompanied uniformed police officers, cheerleaders and politicians who marched in San Francisco’s gay pride parade Sunday, the 42nd year the city has celebrated the lesbian, gay and transgender community.

More than 200 floats made their way down Market Street, the city’s main thoroughfare. A few marchers were dressed in elaborate, brightly colored outfits made from balloons, while many other participants and parade watchers wore hardly anything.

Angel Nava, 19, of Sacramento, Calif., wearing just a pair of skimpy orange-colored shorts, stood with his arms crossed, apparently chilled, but still in good humor.

“I think all these people are beautiful,” he said.

Mayor Ed Lee was set to speak at the city’s Civic Center — near the parade’s end-point — later Sunday. He’ll appear not far from where gay rights activist and San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk famously addressed gay pride celebrants more than 30 years ago.

Organizers said San Francisco’s weekend events are the largest LGBT gathering in the nation, but thousands were also celebrating in Chicago and New York City, where parade-goers are toasting the anniversary of the state’s same-sex marriage law.

San Francisco’s parade came a day after a smaller march in the city’s Dolores Park and the so-called “Pink Saturday” street party.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown waved as he rode by in a yellow convertible. A jail bus, adorned with rainbow banners, blared its siren and flashed its lights.

The Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, LGBT for Obama, Out4 Immigration and Marriage Equality USA were among the marchers. Two men, marching hand-in-hand and waving a sign that read “Frank and Joe, 12 Years Together,” received a warm cheer from the crowded sidewalks.

Jeff Haas said he and his wife, Susie, have been coming to watch the parade since 1968, missing only a few years in between.

“I’m really proud of the city and I think it’s wonderful that we continue to celebrate this,” Susie Haas said.

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