Pride Parade Calls For Equal Rights


2013 Cleveland Pride Parade

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CLEVELAND - Hundreds of people marched through downtown Cleveland Saturday showing their pride in their sexual orientation.

The 25th annual Cleveland Pride Parade celebrates the Lesbian, Gay,  Bi-Sexual and Transgender community and progress made towards equal rights.

"We need to show our pride.  It's sad that we have to do it because straight people don't have to do it.  But, we have to do it to get the things that we need to be treated equally,” said Jerry Edgell of Canton.

Tracy Jones of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland agreed.

"It's really important for us to recognize that this fight continues and to celebrate the importance of pride for all people.  It's a civil rights issue.  It's a family issue," Jones said.

The Cleveland Pride Parade comes just days after the Supreme Court struck down the federal defense of marriage act that defined marriage as only between a man and woman.

It also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

The rulings were personal to Kase Van Buskirk of the Freedom to Marry Ohio group. “It made me cry.  It's nice to have the federal government see you as a real person for once,” he said.

The Supreme Court ruling did not declare a nationwide right for gays to marry.

Instead, it gave that decision to the states. Ohio is among the states that does not recognize same sex marriages.

Freedom to Marry Ohio wants to see the ban on same-sex marriage lifted in the state and is working to change Ohio law.

"We’re working to bring marriage equality to Ohio. We've had a constitutional amendment since 2004 discriminating against gender in Ohio, we're trying to rectify that,” Van Buskirk said.

The group needs 386,000 signatures to get the marriage equality issue before Ohio voters. Freedom to Marry Ohio hopes that happens for the November 2014 election.

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