Gay pride festival brought thousands downtown

Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:55 PM
Last updated 9:02 PM
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Augusta Pride Day was well under way and a bevy of individuals looking to show their pride gathered in the Augusta Common for the festivities.

Fans cheer on the parade-goers June 19 in downtown Augusta. This was the first parade for the CSRA gay community. Thousands came out to enjoy food, entertainment, and be proud of their sexuality.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Fans cheer on the parade-goers June 19 in downtown Augusta. This was the first parade for the CSRA gay community. Thousands came out to enjoy food, entertainment, and be proud of their sexuality.

Live music, food vendors and the event itself have attracted a diverse crowd.  Organizers estimated more than 3,000 and police observers would not dispute the count.

Augusta resident Robert Saltzman said he was out this afternoon on a trip to the farmer's market when he and his wife decided to "check out" the commotion.

"We actually came here to get something to eat," Saltzman said.

He said that amid all of the flamboyancy, there were some worthy aspects of the festival.

"I thought it was good," he said. "There are some churches out here [and] a HIV testing tent over there which I thought was a good thing."

The festival is a first for Augusta, but Saltzman has seen similar gatherings before.

"I used to live in San Francisco so it's not a big deal," he said. "I think this is America and they should be able to do whatever they want."

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BBSouth
12
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BBSouth 06/19/10 - 03:18 pm
0
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Just got home from Gay Pride,

Just got home from Gay Pride, had an awesome time. Thanks to everyone who was there. Please organize this again for next year. And to the "bashers" thanks for keeping your opinions to the AC.

Michael Siewert
0
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Michael Siewert 06/19/10 - 03:59 pm
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Oh no....straight men with

Oh no....straight men with gnarly feet try and wear them, too!

jessievinntura
0
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jessievinntura 06/19/10 - 05:24 pm
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Did all you "gays" feel GAY

Did all you "gays" feel GAY and PRIDEFUL today? YEEEEHOOOOO!

smitty1861
4
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smitty1861 06/19/10 - 05:31 pm
0
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Don't call it Augusta Pride

Don't call it Augusta Pride Day. That is not Augusta's pride.

beboisme
425
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beboisme 06/19/10 - 06:23 pm
0
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Just watched the news at 6:00

Just watched the news at 6:00 on 6 and wondered why a firetruck was used in the parade to carry people.

Dixieman
14412
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Dixieman 06/19/10 - 07:02 pm
0
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"Were You Spotted?"

"Were You Spotted?"

Raydani
0
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Raydani 06/19/10 - 07:05 pm
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Would you question use of the

Would you question use of the firetruck for the Christmas Parade or Thanksgiving Parade? Somehow I doubt it.

AGR354
7
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AGR354 06/19/10 - 07:35 pm
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I would not question in the

I would not question in the least the Firetruck use in a Christmas or Thanksgiving Parade. The City had no reason to use a firetruck for A GAY PRIDE PARADE. You celebrate Holidays and festivals with parades and Days. Not a Lifestyle that is Politicaly modivated and in this case Pervirated. If i misspelled anything who cares. this is a sad day for the CSRA.

cleanup
0
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cleanup 06/19/10 - 07:53 pm
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Actually, I care. I can

Actually, I care. I can overlook "modivated," but "pervirated"? I mean, that's not enough close! You sound like George Bush. Seriously, a lack of English skills DOES have an impact on how people perceive a person's attempted post. It reduces one's credibility, except among the similarly challenged.

cleanup
0
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cleanup 06/19/10 - 07:54 pm
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And, I'm not even a

And, I'm not even a pervirert.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 06/19/10 - 08:19 pm
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It was a privately owned fire

It was a privately owned fire truck. Thanks for sharing your ignorance.

georgian90
0
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georgian90 06/19/10 - 08:24 pm
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I just wanted to say congrats

I just wanted to say congrats to all of the people involved for pulling off such an amazing festival! I had a great time and was VERY impressed! It's about time our little city showed some pride and recognized some of the very important contributors to not only Augusta but the rest of our country. I was almost brought to tears at the start of the parade. It was awesome to see it led by some of our men and women in uniform. I think the day ended perfectly with that awesome rainbow in the Augusta sky after the rain! Way to go guys and I am so proud to be able to support you!
ps...kudos to the people who where responsible for the car alarms in order to drown out the protestors!

concrndcitzn
0
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concrndcitzn 06/19/10 - 08:41 pm
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Seems that cleanup and Jessie

Seems that cleanup and Jessie need to go get their GED before posting on this site again. I think it's wonderful that there was such a large turn out,especially since the conservatives maintain that the gave population is less than 5%. According the the poll on NBC, more than 19% of the responders were going to participate. It's about time Augusta moved out of the dark ages. Congratulations.!!!

concrndcitzn
0
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concrndcitzn 06/19/10 - 08:49 pm
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The forefathers of our

The forefathers of our country came to America for one main reason: natural rights. These "rights" have been debated and fought for since the dawn of America. First came the women's rights movement, followed by the civil rights movement. Throughout America's history we as a country have fought to be able to say that we respect all people, that we are all equal. In retrospect, equality is a debatable word. Our generation is experiencing something huge. Within the past ten years, the "gay movement" has started a revolution throughout the United States. Ten years ago, the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy would never have hit cable television and channels such as Logo and Here!, were not even a blip on the radar. However as of late, homosexuality has taken a new role in the American lifestyle. It is on our televisions, magazines, and newspapers and is no longer a source of jokes and insults, but is slowly taking on a more serious role. Despite the fact that being a homosexual is okay throughout popular culture and that former "gay idols" such as Ellen Degeneres no longer feel the need to only speak about their sexual preference, this newfound acceptance and understanding still does not remedy the major lag in equality of rights.

It was in 1978 that the U.S. Supreme Court declared marriage to be "of fundamental importance to all individuals" in the case of Zablocki v. Redhail. At this point, marriage was described by the court as "one of the basic civil rights of man" and "the most important relation in life." Also, the court claimed that "the right to marry is part of the fundamental right to privacy" in the U.S. Constitution. No matter what anyone's sexual preference may be, we are all humans and therefore all deserve the same basic equal rights. We look back on the blemishes of our history and shudder with embarrassment because of many of the things America has overlooked or ignored. After all, a mere forty years ago interracial marriages were illegal. With clear vision, we now see just how wrong and unjust our past has been. But the mistakes we are making now can easily be remedied before they too become an embarrassment to the law we have created. Without the same rights that marriage entails, same sex couples cannot have next-of-kin (the right to make decisions for sick persons that cannot make medical decisions themselves); they cannot share insurance, taxes and salaries. They cannot visit their partner's child in a hospital, cannot inherit without a will, cannot enter in joint rental agreements, choose a final resting place for a partner, obtain wrongful death benefits, gain a division of property in the event of separation, have joint custody over a child, have spousal social security or Medicare, obtain spousal veteran rights, apply for immigration and obtain domestic violence protective orders (such as restraining orders). Can you imagine not having these rights? If America was built on these "basic human rights"- are we therefore not to grant them to all humans?

Many argue that "civil unions" (legally recognized and voluntary union in which same sex partners receive the "same rights, protections, benefits, and responsibilities of those within the ties of marriage") are acceptable, but marriage- because it is a religious institution- should be banned. Marriage can be a very religious act, but not every religion adheres to the bible and not every religion takes the bible literally. Therefore to say that gay couples cannot join their souls together within a ceremony would mean that atheists, agnostics and anyone else who does not practice religion can also not have the right to marriage. Not only that, but if the main concern with marriage is the religious aspect, then there should be no difference legally between marriage and civil unions, otherwise there is no separation of church and state- thus the state is imposing its idea of moral and religious standards on citizens. On this same chord, many have argued that if we allow same sex couples to marry, it is a slippery slope and soon- who knows! People could marry objects and animals and- wait…are we forgetting, or just being ignorant to the fact that homosexuals are humans?! There is a huge difference between a couple of the same sex committing their love to each other and a woman marrying a lamp, and hopefully we can all agree on at least that fact. Another popular criticism of gay marriage is that homosexuality has fueled the rise of sexually transmitted diseases. I won't even begin to get into the argument that the whole point of marriage is to devote and commit yourself to one person, and that if anything, this would lessen the spread of such epidemics by encouraging loving relationships and discouraging high-risk sexual lifestyles.

Science has proven lately that homosexuality can often be attributed to biological causation- that homosexuality is a predisposed genetic trait and thus could be deemed a non-decision. Rights are given to those born with every other genetic trait, despite their differences. Minorities have rights, handicapped have rights, those who can roll their tongues, those who are double jointed- all genetic traits, all with rights. So why can't homosexuals? Is America really that afraid of sexuality, even after the sexual revolution and our claim to being open minded? Denying gay marriages is the same as denying minority marriages, or different religious marriages. To deny this right is a form of minority discrimination, however this denial is not receiving the same consequences as those other cases that break the law.

If we claim to accept minorities and to have a stern separation of church and state, and to bestow basic human rights to every American, why are we not pulling through? There should no longer be the filter of prejudice over our eyes, but instead we should be proud to look into the eyes of our fellow Americans and know that no matter what they choose to do in their sexual lives, they have the ability to love and care for another human being just as any straight person. As a country, we should no longer let the fact that not every American has the same rights pass us by without a care. The question of gay marriage should not even be a question, it should automatically be a right, and to deny that would not only be ignorant but also blind, rude, and simply, un-American.

Rolling Eyes
245
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Rolling Eyes 06/19/10 - 08:49 pm
0
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Concrndcitzn, what's a "gave

Concrndcitzn, what's a "gave population"?

concrndcitzn
0
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concrndcitzn 06/19/10 - 08:51 pm
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It is fact that most people

It is fact that most people in these United States are in favor of equal rights for gay people. They say that gays should have the same rights in housing, jobs, public accommodations, and should have equal access to government benefits, equal protection of the law. Yet, when you mention the words gay marriage, the equality stops.
The stereotype has it that gays are promiscuous, unable to form lasting relationships, and the relationships that do form are shallow and uncommitted. The important fact to note is that just like in straight society, where such relationships also exist, they are a small minority, and exist primarily among the very young.
The values that gay couples exhibit in their daily lives are often indistinguishable from those of their straight neighbors. They are loyal to their mates, are monogamous, devoted partners. They value and participate in family life, are committed to making neighborhoods and communities safer and better places to live, and honor and abide by the law. Many make valuable contributions to their communities, serving on school boards, volunteering in community charities, and trying to be good citizens. In doing so, they take full advantage of their relationship to make not only their own lives better, but those of their neighbors as well.
Many of the reasons offered for opposing gay marriage are based on the assumption that gays have a choice in who they can feel attracted to, and the reality is quite different. Many people actually believe that gays could simply choose to be heterosexual if they wished. But the reality is that very few do have a choice, any more than very few heterosexuals could choose which sex to find themselves attracted to.
Many people continue to believe the propaganda from right-wing religious organizations that homosexuality is about nothing but sex, considering it to be merely a sexual perversion. The reality is that homosexuality is multidimensional, and is much more about love and affection than it is about sex. And this is what gay relationships are based on—mutual attraction, love and affection. Sex, in a committed gay relationship, is merely a means of expressing that love, just the same as it is for heterosexuals. It’s like being black in a society of whites, or a blonde European in a nation of black-haired Asians.
Who says what marriage is and by whom it is to be defined? Isn’t that kind of like allowing a banker to decide who is going to own the money stored in his vaults? It seems that justice demands that if the straight community cannot show a compelling reason to deny the institution of marriage to gay people, it shouldn’t be denied. And such simple, nebulous declarations, with no real moral argument behind them, are hardly compelling reasons. They are really like an expression of prejudice than any kind of a real argument. The concept of not denying people their rights unless you can show a compelling reason to deny them is the very basis of the American ideal of human rights.
On the issue of gay relationships are immoral. Says who? The Bible? Somehow, I always thought that freedom of religion implied the right to freedom from religion as well. The Bible has absolutely no standing in American law, as was made clear by the intent of the First Amendment ( and as was very explicitly stated by the founding fathers in their first treaty, the Treaty of Tripoli, in 1791) and because it doesn’t, no one has the right to impose rules on anyone else simply because of something they perceive to be a moral injunction mandated by the Bible. Not all world religions have a problem with homosexuality; many sects of Buddhism, for example, celebrate gay relationships freely and would like to have the authority to make them legal marriages. If one believes in religious freedom, the recognition that opposition to gay marriage is based on religious arguments is reason enough to discount this argument.
The proponents that marriages are for procreation and ensuring the continuation of human race are really hard pressed to explain, if that’s the case, why infertile couples are allowed to marry. I, for one, would love to be there when the proponent of such an argument is to explain to his post-menopausal mother or impotent father that since they cannot procreate, they must now surrender their wedding rings and sleep in separate bedrooms. Again, such an argument fails to persuade based on the kinds of marriages society does allow routinely, without even a second thought, and why it really allows them- marriage is about love, sharing and commitment, procreation is, when it comes right down to it, in reality a purely secondary function.
By allowing gay marriage, you would reduce the number of opposite-sex marriages that end up in divorce courts. More than 50% of heterosexual marriages now end up in divorce, I don’t think that you have such a great success at what you call a sacred institution. If it is the stability of the institution of heterosexual marriage that worries you, then consider that no one would require you or anyone else to participate in a gay marriage. You would still have freedom of choice, of choosing which kind of marriage to participate in—something more than what you have now. And speaking of divorce- to argue that the institution of marriage is worth preserving at the cost of requiring involuntary participants to remain in it is a better argument for reforming divorce laws than proscribing gay marriage.
Since ninety percent of the population already have the right to marry the informed, consenting adult of their choice, and would even consider that right a fundamental, constitutionally protected right, since when does extending it to the remaining ten percent constitute a “special” right to that remaining ten percent? As Justice Kennedy observed in his opinion overturning Colorado’s infamous Amendment 2, many gay and lesbian Americans are, under law, denied civil rights protections that others either don’t need or assume that everyone else along with themselves, already have. The problem with all that special rights talk is that it proceeds from that very assumption, that because of al the civil rights laws in this country that everyone is already equal, so therefore any rights gay people are being granted must therefore be special. That is most assuredly not the case, especially regarding marriage and all the legal protections that go along with it.
Regarding the comments that gay marriage would force churches to marry gay couples when they have a moral objection to doing so. This argument, usually advanced by churches that oppose gay marriage, is simply not true. There is nothing in any marriage law, existing or proposed, anywhere in the United States, that does or would have the effect of requiring any church to marry any couple they do not wish to marry. My own uncle refused to marry my mother and stepfather because they were divorced. Churches already can refuse any couple they wish, and for any reason that suits them, which many often do, and that would not change. Some churches continue to refuse to marry interracial couples, others interreligious couples, and a few refuse couples with large age disparities and for numerous other reasons. Gay marriage would not change any church’s right to refuse to sanctify any marriage entirely as they wish- it would simply offer churches the opportunity to legally marry gay couples if they wish, as some have expressed the desire to do – the freedom of religion would actually be expanded, not contracted.
When gay people say that this is a civil rights issue, we are referring to matters of civil justice, which often can be quite serious- and can have life-damaging, even life-threatening consequences.
One of these is the fact that in most states, we cannot make medical decisions for our partners in an emergency. Instead, the hospitals are usually forced by state laws to go to the families who may have been estranged from us for decades, who are often hostile to us, and can and frequently do, totally ignore our wishes regarding the treatment of our partners. if a hostile family wishes to exclude us from the hospital room, they may legally do so in most states. It is even not uncommon for hostile families to make decisions based on their hostility- with results consciously intended to be as inimical to the interests of the patient as possible! Is this fair?
Upon death, in many cases, even very carefully drawn wills and durable powers of attorney have proven to not be enough if a family wishes to challenge a will, overturn a custody decision, or exclude us from a funeral or deny us the right to visit a partner’s hospital bed or grave. As survivors, estranged families can, in nearly all states, even sieze a real estate property that a gay couple may have been buying together for many years, quickly sell it at the largest possible loss, and stick the surviving partner with all the remaining mortgage obligations on a property that partner no longer owns, leaving him out on the street, penniless. There are hundreds of examples of this, even in many cases where the gay couple had been extremely careful to do everything right under current law, in a determined effort to protect their rights. Is that fair?
These are all civil rights issues that have nothing to do with ecclesiastical origins of marriage; they are matters that have become enshrined in state laws by legislation or court precedent over the years in many ways that exclude us from the rights that legally married couples enjoy and even consider their constitutional right. This is why we say it is very much a serious civil rights issue; it has nothing to do with who performs the ceremony, whether it is performed in a church or courthouse or the local country club, or whether an announcement about it is accepted for publication in the local newspaper.
How then should conservatism, as a political movement and a way of life, come to grips with the reality of gay marriage? In precisely the same way that it has come to grips with its errors with regards to racial segregation: own up to its mistake, and simply expand its moral boundaries to include gays and gay marriage. Just as most older conservatives now acknowledge that they once erred in “keeping blacks in their place,” they should make the same acknowledgement for gays and their right to marry, and live happy, open and contented lives in each other’s arms, without fear or discrimination – that gays are just as entitled to equal protection of the law as anyone else, and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution means what it says and applies to gays as well. No “ slippery slopes,” no “slouching towards Gomorrah”, no “end of civilization as we know it”, just freedom, liberty and justice for all.
And on one final note, as most of the African-American community voted for proposition 8 in California, you should be ashamed. The gay community has supported you for many years. We as minority groups should band together. The fact that you turned your backs on the gay community, after all of the support we have handed you is disgraceful.

Indigo
4
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Indigo 06/19/10 - 08:56 pm
0
0
I wasn't at the festival, but

I wasn't at the festival, but was near the commons. I found the participants to be normal folks, nobody was rowdy or nasty. Nobody got shot, and no body was throwing stones.

Whatever drives the gay/straight choice is anyone's guess, I and that argument will go on for years. Im not gay, and I don't believe its right for me, but that's MY choice. I can assure you we wont get anywhere hating each other, and particularly hating gays. Its just not right.

Hate changes nothing, it only burns and maims the innocent.

-indigo

So crates
0
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So crates 06/19/10 - 09:07 pm
0
0
No gripes. Thank you to the

No gripes. Thank you to the organizers, but thank you even more to Augusta, the city. For those who cannot experience it, being gay in a southern town can be a painful, lonely life filled with many many people pointing out how you ought to live and what is obviously wrong with you. As much as such people think they are helping and maybe even looking out for your soul, the strain caused by this approach on an individual can lead to isolation, depression, rage, and can truly breed darkness in the soul. Today Augusta took a chance and let its gay and lesbian citizens into the light and this is the best help that a community can offer in this case. Thank you to all who attended and for those who did not.

Rolling Eyes
245
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Rolling Eyes 06/19/10 - 09:24 pm
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Copy and paste, the best

Copy and paste, the best friend of a person who can't be bothered by coming up with an original thought...

FedupwithAUG
0
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FedupwithAUG 06/19/10 - 09:27 pm
0
0
WoW, what an amazing day in

WoW, what an amazing day in Augusta.

dani
12
Points
dani 06/19/10 - 09:30 pm
0
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Indigo, A belief that the

Indigo, A belief that the "gay" lifestyle is wrong is in NO way hatred. It is a difference of opinion. Look in the mirror.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 06/19/10 - 09:51 pm
0
0
No, the belief is not. You

No, the belief is not. You can believe anything you like. But when you decide that what you believe is more important than the rights of other people to build the family they choose, get the rights for their loved ones that they work and pay for like everyone else and live without the constant carping of beliefs they don't share, that's hate.

Riverman1
82406
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Riverman1 06/19/10 - 09:56 pm
0
0
SoCrates, that was a good

SoCrates, that was a good post as opposed to another's. I'm glad Augusta helped you folks today. But the display of tolerance actually helped everyone.

Riverman1
82406
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Riverman1 06/19/10 - 09:59 pm
0
0
That's probably the biggest

That's probably the biggest crowd Augusta has had for a parade in a long time.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 06/19/10 - 10:01 pm
0
0
concrndcitzen: I don't think
Unpublished

concrndcitzen: I don't think anyone in this forum needs to be lectured by you on this subject. If you want to write a treatise on the gay lifetyle/movement please get yourself a publisher. I for one do believe the gay lifestyle is wrong, but I dont hate you people, you just have some defective chromosomes and thusly are confused, I'm convinced it's not something you could do anything about.
Go ahead and have your parade, it didn't affect me, I made plans to be someplace else. You couldn't have paid me to be there.

tncc0770
0
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tncc0770 06/19/10 - 10:08 pm
0
0
I was there. As a straight

I was there. As a straight mother of two little girls, who also marched. It was a positive, happy event, with few negative protesters (except one guy at 10th and Braod who was yelling awful things into a mic and amplifier- yeesh!!!). I hope that one day EVERYONE can be allowed the right to pursue love and happiness, whatever form it happens to be in... straight, gay, mixed races, mixed religions. Love will conquer over hate.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 06/19/10 - 10:22 pm
0
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This is great to hear. It

This is great to hear. It certainly makes Augusta appear a lot more open minded and welcoming to the rest of the world. I am sure this was good for business in downtown. People from out of town coming to Augusta and spending their money is always a good thing.

jb1234
0
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jb1234 06/19/10 - 10:36 pm
0
0
I'm glad that the event

I'm glad that the event turned out to be a success (like others have said, anytime people are spending money in your city, it's a good thing). Thank you to the organizers, and I wish you the best as you plan for next year!

To all you folks complaining, just remember what the bible says: Love thy neighbor as thyself, even if you don't agree with their lifestyle.

Dixieman
14412
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Dixieman 06/19/10 - 10:37 pm
0
0
What gay word begins with "f"

What gay word begins with "f" and ends with "k"? Oh, yes..."firetruck".

robelenj
0
Points
robelenj 06/19/10 - 10:42 pm
0
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Becareful bringing the Bible

Becareful bringing the Bible in to this.... it also condones homosexuality!

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