The St. Petersburg Pride Festival drew record crowds to the city Saturday thanks to the recent ground-breaking Supreme Court rulings, event organizers said.
Eric Skains, Executive Director of the festival, said roughly 150,000 people, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, showed up to celebrate.
"We had the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court ruling that happened earlier this week. It couldn't have been better timing for us," Skains said. "We should retheme our event this year to 'Liberty, Justice and Equality For All' because that's really what happened this year."
The Supreme Court recently struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, thereby allowing the Federal Government to recognize same-sex marriages.
Skains said the landmark cases combined with some excellent advertising are reasons for the large turnout; organizers already had a record number of participants committed to the parade, along with some 300 vendors signed up prior to the Court's decisions.
"Now that we got that ruling, the ball is rolling again and we got a long way to go but we're getting there," said Luis Tutierrez, a festival attendee. "It's a landmark event and it means a lot for the gay community."
"We're being loud and proud today," said Chery Vaughn, who attended the festival with her partner who she said she'd hopes to one day marry in Florida. "We're just like anybody else, but we're discriminated on and this is just hopefully bringing more awareness to our lifestyle."
Another ruling by the Supreme Court on California's Proposition 8 made same-sex marriages once again legal in that state.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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