News / USA

Gay Couple Exchanges Wedding Vows on Rose Parade Float

Aubrey Loots (R) and Danny Leclair, the first gay couple to be married aboard a float in the Tournament of Roses, kiss after being wed by the Rev. Alfreda Lanoix of the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ (L), aboard the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float in
Aubrey Loots (R) and Danny Leclair, the first gay couple to be married aboard a float in the Tournament of Roses, kiss after being wed by the Rev. Alfreda Lanoix of the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ (L), aboard the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float in
Reuters
A gay Los Angeles couple exchanged wedding vows atop a flower-covered float trundling through Pasadena on Wednesday as part of  the nationally televised Tournament of Roses Parade, capping a momentous year for same-sex marriage in the United States.

The nuptials of Danny Leclair, 45, and Aubrey Loots, 42, who have been together for 12 years and own a local chain of hair salons, marked the first same-sex marriage on a Rose Parade float in the 125-year history of the annual event, organizers said.

In the past, two heterosexual couples have tied the knot during Rose Parades - in 1989 and last year.

Leclair and Loots made it official aboard a float shaped like a wedding cake coated in white coconut chips, accented with red kidney beans and festooned with 12,000 roses and other floral decorations, said Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The foundation sponsored the float to celebrate same-sex marriage and the role it can play in helping to reduce new HIV infections among gay men, he said.

The minister who performed the wedding, Alfreda Lanoix, an openly lesbian reverend for the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ, tossed handfuls of rose petals into the air to mark the completion of the ceremony.

The parade was witnessed by an estimated 700,000 spectators who lined the 5.5 mile (8.8 km) procession route and by millions of viewers tuning into one of several networks carrying the event live in the United States and broadcasting it around the world. The parade also was live-streamed over the Internet.

Wedding float takes the cake

The wedding float ended up winning the tournament's Isabella Coleman Award for “best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use.”

In the parade procession, the wedding float was in a lineup that included a high school marching band from Reno, Nevada, a float sponsored by the city of Beverly Hills, and another float sponsored by the Lutheran Laymen's League featuring a banner that said: “Jesus Welcomes All.”

Joining the newlyweds on the float was a married lesbian couple, Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer, who have been together 42 years, Kenslea said.

Loots, who is originally from South Africa, and Leclair, a native of Canada, met at a Los Angeles nightclub and originally had planned for a relatively low-key wedding until the opportunity to exchange vows in the Rose Parade surfaced.

“For me, I was moved by the stand that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was taking,” Leclair told Reuters on Monday.

Loots said he had been traveling when he got a message from his partner asking if he would want to get married on a Rose Parade float.

“I said, 'You're crazy! Of course, let's celebrate our love in front of the world,”' he recounted, adding that the couple also were motivated by the chance to offer hope to same-sex couples who in most states are still denied marriage rights.

“Being on top of this cake floating down the road is truly for the men and women in the world that don't have these opportunities,” he said.

Wednesday's event comes at a time of increasing momentum for the cause of gay marriage in the courts, at the ballot box and in statehouses across the United States.

As of this month, same-sex matrimony has been legally recognized in 18 states and the District of Columbia, with the tally more than doubling during the past year, due in most cases to litigation over the issue.

The trend has gained steam since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 that married same-sex couples are eligible for federal benefits, striking down a key part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

In a separate decision the same day, the high court let stand a lower-court ruling that overturned California's voter approved ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid