The Pasadena Star news reports that a San Diego woman has called for the Rose Parade to be boycotted because it will feature a gay wedding atop a float. The float, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is titled, “Love is the Best Protection.” The parade will be watched by an estimated 68 million people around the world.
San Diegan Karen Grube, who said her protest is not out of her religious convictions, and says she is opposed to having any wedding featured in the parade, has requested that corporate sponsors drop their funding of the parade if the wedding proceeds, asked the Tournament of Roses to ban the float, and established a Facebook page to look for additional supporters. Grube said, “Gay marriage is illegal in over 30 states, why would they promote something that is blatantly illegal? That’s just stupid.” She added that the Tournament shouldn’t support a “political agenda,” and concluded, “It used to be a family thing, to get up on New Year’s Day morning and watch the parade. It no longer is.”
Danny Leclair, one of the two hairdressers getting married on the float, said that some of the negative responses to the wedding are “heinous,” and continued, “It’s something that they don’t understand and so I expected it. We’re not dissuaded or upset or concerned. We’re simply acknowledging it … There’s a lot of people who think we’re doing this as a political statement. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Our stance is love is love and love will save lives.”
Ralph E. Shaffer, a professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona, disagreed, saying the wedding is an “in your face” act that might make people angrier toward gays. Shaffer, noting there will be several kisses between LeClair and his intended, Aubrey loots, added, “The problem is going to be the wedding kiss … I don’t know what the response is going to be.” he said.
AHF President Michael Weinstein said there was no political statement intended, and protesters should respect “the law of the land”:
There are as many opinions in the world as there are people, but our motivation is to validate the love that exists between same-sex couples and what we believe is the importance of validating these relationships in terms of protecting, particularly gay men from HIV and other STDs. We think the more we promote stable, long-term relationships, the better it will be.
Tournament of Roses officials stated, “Like all of our sponsors and float designers, AHF continues to help make the Rose Parade a premier event through original and creative expressions that connect to parade themes — as this float does.”