Gay couple marry during Californian parade
The nuptials of 45 year-old Danny Leclair and 42 year-old Aubrey Loots marked the first same-sex marriage on a Rose Parade float in the 125-year history of the annual event, capping a momentous year for same-sex marriage in the US. RAW VISION.PT2M0S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3079j 620 349 January 2, 2014
Catherine Saillant and Soumya Karlamangla
Los Angeles: The first same-sex wedding in the history of the Tournament of Roses Parade went off without a hitch - except for the planned one - despite threats of protests and days of opposition on social media.
"Congratulations and our best wishes to Aubrey and Danny on their wedding day!" said KTLA-TV Channel 5 broadcaster Bob Eubanks, one of the live telecast show's hosts, as the wedding-cake-shaped float passed by the viewing stands.
Reverend Alfreda Lanoix, left, with grooms Danny Leclair and Aubrey Loots after their marriage during the Tournament of Roses Parade. Photo: AP
Spectators clapped as grooms Danny Leclair, 45, and Aubrey Loots, 42, faced each other and recited their vows before the Reverend Alfreda "Freda" Lanoix on the float sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. White doves were released into the bright blue sky afterward.
The vows took place near the end of the two-hour telecast of the 125th annual Rose Parade. There were no major incidents reported.
In the days before the parade, commenters on the Tournament of Roses' Facebook page debated the merits of including a same-sex wedding. Opponents said it was offensive, citing biblical grounds. A Facebook page called "Boycott the 2014 Rose Parade" had more than 8000 likes.
Danny Leclair, left, and Aubrey Loots, celebrate after their marriage during the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. Photo: AP
But some in the crowd said they came specifically to see the couple exchange vows. Jennifer Adair, 41, a Southern California native, came with her girlfriend, Bonnie Cortez, to watch.
"I'm going to cheer, 'Gay rights! Gay rights! Equality! Equality!'" Ms Adair said. "We're a modern-day society, so accept it. Don't worry about what other people do."
Mr Leclair and Mr Loots, wearing dark suits and matching white-rose boutonnieres, waved to people on the sidewalk. The crowd cheered, took photographs and offered congratulations.
Danny Leclair, left, and Aubrey Loots, after their marriage during the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. Photo: AP
One woman yelled: "Where are you registered?" Mr Leclair, grinning, shouted back: "Thanks for coming to our wedding!"
Kevin Ferguson, who lives in Los Angeles, watched the float go by at Orange Grove Boulevard and Lockehaven Street. He said he was supportive of the couple, even if opponents thought it was too public a venue.
"You can't put a timetable on another person's freedom," Mr Ferguson said.
The couple said it had been a morning of nervous excitement.
The song Power of Two by the Indigo Girls played from the float on a loop. People stopped to take photos of the float, decorated with white and dark red roses and titled "Living the Dream: Love Is the Best Protection".
Pasadena, California, resident Monica Kibbee and her 8-year-old daughter, Ava, handed a branch of purple orchids to two women on the float. "I think it's wonderful," Ms Kibbee said. She looked around and said: "I'm really happy to see there's no one here protesting."