City erupts in PRIDE - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

City erupts in PRIDE

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago's pride parade, like many across the country, was filled with renewed energy and hope for marriage equality.

The parade comes on the heels of the Supreme Court axing portions of the Defense of Marriage Act and paving the way for same sex couples to receive federal benefits. Chicago's LGBT community celebrated that victory by making history of its own.

For the first time, members of The National Football League Players Association and The Retired Football Players of Chicago marched in the city's 44th Annual Pride Parade supporting former NFL player Wade Davis who served as Grand Marshall.

"It's just wonderful to see these professional sports leagues showing their inclusiveness and diversity and wanting to be a part of a great march," said Davis.

The former cornerback spent years as a closeted professional athlete.

"Often times when you're not out, you spend so many of those quiet times thinking about what would your life be like if you were out so when I was with my teammates who are my family members, that's when I was the most comfortable because I didn't' have to think about being gay," said Davis.

"Pride is just being who you are, not really caring what people think, embracing your inside and wearing it on your outside without being worried about judgment or bullying or anything like that, it's about being who you are and loving yourself," said an attendee.

There was plenty of love to go around on the north side but beyond the colorful costumes, 200-plus floats and cheer - the festive mood was underscored with frustration at Illinois state lawmakers and their failure to vote on same sex marriage.

"You're going to see it's a little bit more political this year. You're going to see more signage urging the Illinois legislatures to pass same sex marriage bill," said parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer.

"As soon as possible. It's already passed the Illinois Senate on Valentine's Day. I don't know what's holding up the Illinois House, they should take a vote and a vote I think will show a yes for marriage equality - I'm ready to sign that bill right away," said Governor Pat Quinn.

And Mayor Rahm Emanuel agrees.

"Today's parade should be a push now for Springfield to do what they have to do, let's put Illinois on the map as it related to honoring gay marriage and gay couples," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"It's overdue. 13 states have done it, it's time for the Land of Lincoln to join them," said Senator Dick Durbin.

For Wade Davis, it was an historic celebration filled with joy.

"I have a partner who is in Australia so the fact that we can now get married and I can (inaudible) him, it was truly amazing," said Davis.

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