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article image19 same-sex marriages and singer Chaka Kahn highlight LGBT event Special

By Stephen Pope     Jun 15, 2014 in Lifestyle
Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto married 19 same-sex couples Sunday morning just prior to a parade that was part of Pittsburgh Pride, the city's annual LGBT event.
This year's Pittsburgh Pride Fest was highlighted by 19 same-sex marriages performed by Peduto at the City-County Building and Saturday's performance by singer Chaka Kahn in downtown Pittsburgh to an estimated 35, 000 people, according to the City of Pittsburgh.
Just before introducing singer Chaka Kahn Saturday, Peduto, a strong supporter of same-sex marriages said, "Finally the time has come, tomorrow I will be marrying 19 same-sex couples." During this morning's ceremonies he said, “What we’re doing is we’re entering into a new phase, a new Pittsburgh. Throughout the 198 years of this city, what we're about to do has not been possible, but not today. Not today, not now.”
Within hours of Governor Tom Corbett's announcement last month that he would not appeal the ruling striking down the ban on same sex marriage, there were more than 60 same-sex couple marriage applications filed in Allegheny County, Peduto said after Sunday's ceremony.
Supporters and workers from more than 120 groups who support LGBT rights marched during Sunday's parade through downtown, including BNY Mellon, Google, the Department of Veterans Affairs, PNC Bank and UPMC.
A large portion of the downtown area was closed off for much of the weekend and more than 130 vendors and over 75,000 LGBT couples, supporters and others turned out for a weekend of fun and entertainment.
Volunteers finish a banner that says  American Eagle Outfitters Proudly Supports Pittsburgh Pride.  ...
Volunteers finish a banner that says "American Eagle Outfitters Proudly Supports Pittsburgh Pride." Steve Pope/Digital Journal
In May a federal judge struck-down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage bringing renewed hope that employers will offer health and other benefits for same sex couples. Nationwide, 55 percent support same-sex marriage, an all-time high according to a Washington Post report.
However, there were a number of same-sex couples who attended or marched in today's parade whose employers do not offer domestic partnership benefits. In 2012 only 52 percent of the nation's employers offered benefits to same-sex or domestic partnership couples according to a PBS report.
Danielle Gerson (right)  Aubrey DiVits and their four-year-old dog  Beo  are one of many same-sex co...
Danielle Gerson (right), Aubrey DiVits and their four-year-old dog "Beo" are one of many same-sex couples whose employers do not offer same-sex couple benefits. Steve Pope/Digital Journal
Not all of today's turnout were in support of same-sex couple marriages or the LGBT lifestyle. A husband and wife team from Texas-based Repent Amarillo, a Christian organization and others who were speaking out against same-sex marriage and the LGBT lifestyle, were met with strong opposition from some several members of Pittsburgh's LGBT community.
According to police, one member of the LGBT community was cited for disorderly conduct after he tried to take leaflets away from the couple.
David Graham and his wife Tracy from Repent Amarillo speak-out against the LGBT lifestyle and same-s...
David Graham and his wife Tracy from Repent Amarillo speak-out against the LGBT lifestyle and same-sex marriage at Sunday's parade. Steve Pope/Digital Journal
Members of Repent Amarillo and supporters of LGBT and same-sex marriage clash during Sunday s Pittsb...
Members of Repent Amarillo and supporters of LGBT and same-sex marriage clash during Sunday's Pittsburgh Pride Fest parade. Steve Pope/Digital Journal
The entry of about 20 workers from the Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System drew some surprised looks from several spectators. However, VA employee Matt Uchaker told Digital Journal, "We have permission from the Department of Veterans Affairs to be in the parade." A call to the agency seeking confirmation was not returned.
Employees of the local Veterans Administration hospital march in support of same-sex marriage and LG...
Employees of the local Veterans Administration hospital march in support of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. Steve Pope/Digital Journal
Most spectators — as well as parade marchers — seemed to be enjoying the food, drink and entertainment that closed off over 10 blocks of Liberty Avenue, one of the main streets in the center of downtown. Some even brought their pet children out for some fun.
Lynn Ross (left)  Brett Moorman and Louise Stutler march in Sunday s Pittsburgh Pride parade along w...
Lynn Ross (left), Brett Moorman and Louise Stutler march in Sunday's Pittsburgh Pride parade along with one-year-old "Parker" (left) and three-month-old "Champ". The dogs belong to Stutler and Ross who have been together for 25 years. Steve Pope/Digital Journal
Jason Reed attended Sunday s parade and festivities with Boxie  his two-year-old female boxer  Copen...
Jason Reed attended Sunday's parade and festivities with Boxie, his two-year-old female boxer, Copen, his three-year-old lab (sitting) and three-year-old Sweden who apparently prefers taking an afternoon nap over the parade. Steve Pope/Digital Journal
Supporters and spectators cheer on the marchers cheered and welcomed the marchers as they made their way to the finish line. It took over and hour and a half for all entries in the parade to finish.
Supporters and parade marchers give a warm welcome to those who just finished the parade on Liberty ...
Supporters and parade marchers give a warm welcome to those who just finished the parade on Liberty Avenue. Steve Pope/Digital Journal
Workers and supports from the local Google office were in front of today s parade and were seen chee...
Workers and supports from the local Google office were in front of today's parade and were seen cheering for support at LGBT couples. Steve Pope/Digital Journal
According to Pittsburgh's Delta Foundation who organized the events, they expect a larger turnout next year now that firmer laws are in place where same-sex couples can legally marry.
More about Pittsburgh Pride, Chaka khan, Pittsburgh LGBT, Samesex marriage
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