Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads Chicago’s 42nd Annual Gay Pride Parade

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads Chicago’s 42nd Annual Gay Pride Parade

The 42nd Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade kicked off from the northside Lakeview neighborhood at noon on Sunday, led by Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel. It was the first time in a long time that a sitting mayor has appeared in the parade, a salute to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. An animated Rahm Emanuel marched directly behind the parade’s lead banner and platoon of police on horseback. Dressed casually in a light blue shirt, white jeans, tennis shoes and black shades, Emanuel brought the crowd to a roar as he stopped to high-five a little girl and hoisted a young boy over the metal barricade for a peck on the cheek.

Emanuel is a regular at the parade, having appeared at the festivities almost every year while he served in Congress. He has been a relentless advocate of gay causes, including HIV/AIDS funding, civil unions and gay marriage. Joining him in the parade was Governor Pat Quinn, who recently signed the Illinois civil union legislation, as Illinois became the sixth state to allow civil unions or their equivalent, giving same-sex couples the same state-level rights that come with marriage.

The parade usually draws around a half-million celebrants, but coming right on the heels of winning the long-sought right for same-sex couples to enter into civil unions and the historic passage of the New York bill allowing same sex marriage Friday night, this parade swelled to an estimated attendance of 750,000, which was likely a record number of rainbow-clad spectators.

Viewers can read a short history of the gay rights movement in Illinois here.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads The 42nd Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade

Chicago’s 2010 Gay Pride Parade

The Chicago Gay Pride Parade Celebration

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