Gay couple exchanges wedding vows on Rose Parade float

Wed Jan 1, 2014 3:18pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A gay Los Angeles couple exchanged wedding vows atop a flower-covered float trundling through Pasadena on Wednesday as part of the nationally televised Tournament of Roses Parade, capping a momentous year for same-sex marriage in the United States.

The nuptials of Danny Leclair, 45, and Aubrey Loots, 42, who have been together for 12 years and own a local chain of hair salons, marked the first same-sex marriage on a Rose Parade float in the 125-year history of the annual event, organizers said.

In the past, two heterosexual couples have tied the knot during Rose Parades - in 1989 and last year.

Leclair and Loots made it official aboard a float shaped like a wedding cake coated in white coconut chips, accented with red kidney beans and festooned with 12,000 roses and other floral decorations, said Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The foundation sponsored the float to celebrate same-sex marriage and the role it can play in helping to reduce new HIV infections among gay men, he said.

The minister who performed the wedding, Alfreda Lanoix, an openly lesbian reverend for the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ, tossed handfuls of rose petals into the air to mark the completion of the ceremony.

The parade was witnessed by an estimated 700,000 spectators who lined the 5 1/2 mile procession route and by millions of viewers tuning into one of several networks carrying the event live in the United States and broadcasting it around the world. The parade also was live-streamed over the Internet.


The wedding float ended up winning the tournament's Isabella Coleman Award for "best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use."   Continued...

Danny Leclair (C) and Aubrey Loots (R) become the first same sex couple to marry in the 125th Rose Parade in a service performed on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float in Pasadena, California January 1, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn