Love is in the air.
The City is preparing for the 43rd annual Pride Parade this weekend, and the celebration is sure to be larger than life as it comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court's Wednesday ruling that could allow same-sex marriages to resume in California in less than a month. Justices also struck down a provision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and now married same-sex couples can obtain the same federal benefits as married straight couples.
The news had good timing, according to Parade organizers, and they are expecting a swell in attendance.
“It's an exciting time and I think it's going to add to the momentum of the weekend,” said Earl Plant, CEO of the parade. “With the celebratory mood to the Supreme Court decisions, it brings it to a whole other level.”
Pride events started last weekend and ran throughout the week, including concerts, dances and brunches. The main event kicks off today, though, with the Transgender March down Market Street; on Saturday, Dykes on Bikes will lead into Pink Saturday. That event is alcohol-free and police and organizers will be on hand to monitor and confiscate any adult beverages.
On Sunday, the parade begins at 10:30 a.m. and travels down Market Street to Civic Center Plaza, where a celebration like no other is expected. Organizers are estimating as many as 1.5 million people will be in attendance, topping the average by a half-million.
Also, co-plaintiffs of the Proposition 8 lawsuit — Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami — will join the City Attorney's Office and march in this year's parade.
Police will have an increased number of uniformed and plainclothes officers at each celebration.
The warm weather forecast also should be a draw. The National Weather Service expects San Francisco to reach 75 degrees Sunday.
“It's the perfect weather for a celebration but also the perfect setup for some heat-related illnesses,” Tomas Aragon, health officer for San Francisco, said in a statement. “We want everyone to have a good time, and that includes staying safe and healthy.”
Christopher Smith and his partner of eight years, Scott Flatgard, are just two of the people who traveled from other states for the celebration. The couple comes from South Dakota every year, but this year they came a few days early to be in the Castro district for the Supreme Court decisions.
“I used to live here and I wanted to bring [Flatgard] here to be a part of it,” Smith said.
Karin Jaffie, 47, who's been married to her partner for 18 years, said the wait and the weekend celebration are worth it.
“Pride is in full swing and it's going to be a party all weekend,” Jaffie said Wednesday immediately following the Prop. 8 decision.
Wave your flag this weekend
Event: Transgender March
When: 6:15 p.m. today
Location: Starts at Dolores Park and heads east, ending up on Market Street
Event: Dykes on Bikes
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Location: Starts at Dolores Park, heads through Mission before hitting Market Street to go west to Castro
Event: Pink Saturday
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Location: Castro, 18th and Market streets
Event: Pride Parade
When: 10:30 a.m. Sunday
Location: Starts at Beale and Market streets and continues west to Civic Center Plaza