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Motor City Pride Event Ends On Festive Note With Parade, Eye On Court Of Appeals

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April DeBoer, Jayne Rowse and their family, were Grand Marshals of the parade. (WWJ/Beth Fisher)

April DeBoer, Jayne Rowse and their family, were Grand Marshals of the parade. (WWJ/Beth Fisher)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Hundreds gathered in Detroit for the  Motor City Pride Parade and Pride Fest as parade goers marched up Jefferson Avenue to Hart Plaza this weekend.

It was a momentous year for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, which had lots to celebrate as Michigan’s ban on gay marriage was struck down as unconstitutional. It’s now in the appeals process.

Parade Motor City Pride 1 (BFisher)Parade Motor City Pride 3 (BFisher) Festival chairperson Dave Wait, says there’s hope on the horizon.

“We’re hoping that’s gonna come through too as it goes through the court cases. There’s been such a positive thing going around the country. What happened earlier in the year was very positive and we’re looking forward to the day when it is, when there’s no more questions about it and no more cases on the issue,” said Wait.

How will it all end? Jessica Black of Hamtramck feels same-sex marriage will prevail.

“I believe, people are finally are listening, people are finally saying, ‘you know what?’ we all have the right to love each other – why not let them get married?” said Black. “We are not there yet, but I definitely believe we are getting closer than ever.”

Agreeing was Cecil Young of Canton, who had a civil union with his partner in Vermont.

“I hope we continue to struggle so we can get married,” he said.

His partner George Snow said the tide is turning: “We have a child through surrogacy – if you did that 40 years ago — Paid a woman to have your child? You’d probably wind up in prison for it.”

While there were some demonstrators at Pride Fest who oppose gay marriage – the event was predominantly peaceful and upbeat.

Among the crowd was Monica Layne, an ally of the LGBT community:

“I actually teared up a little bit when they went by – seeing them and the kids – that meant a lot to see that,” said Layne.

The case for same-sex marriage in Michigan will be heard by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in August. The couple who brought the lawsuit against the law, April DeBoer, Jayne Rowse and their family, were grand marshals of the parade.

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