Tuesday, July 30, 2013
On June 27th, members of the LGBT community and supporters came together for the Marriage Equality Rally in Orlando Florida. The "Paint It Red Orlando" event pulled in thousands of supporters, for speeches from community and political figures. There was for food, drinks, music which made for a fun filled night at the band shell at Lake Eola, in Downtown Orlando.
Volunteers helped create the red paper bag luminaries and distribute them around the lake. Each bag had an electric candle and a tag that listed a gay couple that had been married. The wind kept knocking over bags so small sticks were added inside the bags to add weight. It was an impressive sight to see the bags surrounding the whole lake. They symbolically "Painted the Town Red". It was a visually stunning moment to celebrate Marriage Equality, the work that has taken place to get to the Supreme Court, and to reflect on all of the struggles thus far, as well as the work yet to be done.
Speakers included representatives from Federal, State, and Local Government, local clergy, activists, entertainers, a celebrity or two, and community members! Blue Starr was the Master of Ceremonies. This was a pep rally and celebration of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave federal benefits to legally married gays.While praising the decision, celebrants also expressed hope that same-sex marriage will one day be legal in Florida.
There were food trucks, a beer garden and a full bar. Signs on barricades listed "Rules of Conduct." I didn't quite understand the need for barricades but I suppose officials felt the need to limit beer consumption to the designated area around the band shell, much like the Fringe green lawn of fabulousness. Several buildings downtown and around the lake had red spotlights. The town was literally illuminated red. I had on my bright red shirt just by luck. I'm seldom one for preplanning when it comes to fashion. The huge crowd was fun and festive, partying late into the night. I walked around the lake reading all the names on the bags that celebrated love and life.