Military too joins Toronto’s million-strong gay parade

June 30th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, June 30 (IANS) Toronto’s world-famous Gay Pride parade broke yet another ground when gay Canadian military personnel joined the annual festivities here for the first time. About one-and-a-half dozen gay military personnel Sunday enjoyed the pride of place during the three-hour boisterous show in the heart of the city.

Canada was one of the first countries to allow openly gay and lesbian people to join its armed forces in 1992.

The military took the don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach to homosexuality till 2003 when some provinces legalized same-sex marriages.

They introduced new regulations in 2003 allowing such marriages among its gay personnel.

With the federal Canadian government also enacting a law to legalise same-sex marriage all across Canada in 2005, the first such marriage among military personnel was solemnised that very year.

On Sunday, more than a million participants and spectators watched as thousands of scantily clad gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals strutted through the streets in downtown Toronto.

As far as the eye could see, there was a riot of colour with marchers dancing in varied costumes and waving rainbow flags.

Amid beats of the drum, they demanded protection of gay rights across the world. They urged governments to support people suffering from HIV.

Among those who cheered on the gay parade were former Ontario premier Bob Rae, Toronto Mayor David Miller and New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton.

Since many US states don’t allow gay marriages, many American gay couples flew into Toronto to solemnise their marriage and participate in the Gay Pride parade.

The annual parade has become a money spinner for Toronto, which expects to earn more than $100 million from this year’s show.

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