Thousands celebrate in Augusta's first pride parade

Some protest tribute to gay lifestyle

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Diversity was everywhere Saturday morning as hundreds of people brought their opinions, messages and lifestyles to downtown Augusta.

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Isaac Kelly, the president of Augusta Pride Inc., shouts while holding hands with his partner at the start of the pride parade in downtown Augusta. It was the city's first pride celebration.  Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Isaac Kelly, the president of Augusta Pride Inc., shouts while holding hands with his partner at the start of the pride parade in downtown Augusta. It was the city's first pride celebration.

Augusta Pride Inc.'s president, Isaac Kelly, placed the number of people in the parade and enjoying the events on the Augusta Common throughout the day at 3,500.

For many, Augusta's first gay pride parade was an opportunity to proudly proclaim their sexual identity and bring their lifestyle to the forefront in a Southern town.

"People are afraid of what they don't know," said Tamara Sheffield, as she waited to walk the parade route down Broad Street with her friends.

Standing nearby was Sharon Renee and a friend who only identified herself by the stage name Miss Vicky. Both wore long, glittery evening gowns and blonde and brunette wigs.

"No one has the right to judge but God," said Renee as she fanned at the sweat dripping from her brow.

Others used the street corners as a pulpit to condemn homosexuality with signs such as "I now pronounce you pervert and pervert."

Chris Pettigrew drove from the suburbs of Atlanta with members of his church to protest and said he was given rude gestures and told to "go to hell."

"I think it's hypocritical because they always tell us to be open-minded," Pettigrew said.

The parade was a diverse mixture of over-the-top gaudiness and modest celebration.

Loud cheers and whistles greeted the head of the parade and overpowered the hoarse preaching of a man standing in the median of 10th and Broad streets.

The colorful rainbow representing the gay movement was held as a banner and draped over honking vehicles or clutched as a flag in the hands of waving walkers.

Many walked, but some rode a decommissioned fire engine loudly blasting dance music or, in one case, rode a motorcycle wearing short shorts and a pink feathered boa.

Wanda Walker was standing on the sidewalk watching the parade and said she respected the First Amendment rights represented by the parade.

She even welcomed the acceptance of the gay lifestyle the parade might encourage in her hometown.

What bothered her was the presence of children both along the street and in the parade.

"These people have made their choice," she said, gesturing to the hollering passers-by. "But I don't think we should expose children to it."

Perhaps the most unexpected participants in the parade were a group of guys on a souped up orange golf cart named the General Lee, same as the iconic 1969 Dodge Charger of Dukes of Hazzard fame. The cart even tooted the opening lines of Dixie .

George Calvery, of Atlanta, took the role of Daisy Duke with a red plaid shirt tied in a knot above his midriff and short cutoff jean shorts.

Calvery, who said he was a regular visitor to Augusta, said the juxtaposition between gays and Southern tradition was intended to draw a laugh.

"It's fun to poke holes in stereotypes," he said.

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andywarhol
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andywarhol 06/20/10 - 01:11 am
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First of all, I have

First of all, I have absolutely no problem with people being gay. What people do in their own bedroom is their business. Heck, some of what hetero couples do is pretty gay in my opinion. So many argue that it is their private life and their business, but I guess having a parade isn't shoving it in our faces, right?

Tony.C
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Tony.C 06/20/10 - 02:46 am
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"These people have made their

"These people have made their choice," she said, gesturing to the hollering passers-by. "But I don't think we should expose children to it."

Adults have made their religious choice, but I don't think we should expose children to it. Kids are not mentally capable of deciding issues like "What religion should I be?", so bringing kids to church is no better than brain washing them.

Gay people have kids, too. Would Wanda prefer they be left at home unattended? Think I've read a few articles here in the Chronically poorly copyedited about kids being left unattended, kids forcibly getting drunk, starting things on fire, not being in proper child seats or even buckled in, murdering each other, stealing, raping, slangin dem signs... you name it. http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/2010/06/07/lesbian_parents

It's easy to see why they have fewer problems. Because the parents are committed to the family unit, are educated, and actually care about their kids, unlike half of Augusta. Crime would bottom out here if some parents would do their jobs instead of loafin in front of the tube savorin dat gov't cheez while their brood of unkempt spawn run amok, or if more normal people would carry guns and put them down like the animals they are. We're talking about criminals here.

Buckeye
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Buckeye 06/20/10 - 03:00 am
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I had a lot of fun, even if

I had a lot of fun, even if there were a few people with their angry signs. I think the kids that were there had a blast, and I doubt any of them will be scarred for life. Its the world we live in today, and I am proud to be gay, and proud to call Augusta my home...and very proud of the way MOST people enjoyed the event!

Trey Enfantay
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Trey Enfantay 06/20/10 - 03:42 am
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I wish they would publish a

I wish they would publish a list of the sponsors and business supporters of this "event" so that I could boycott them whenever possible.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 06/20/10 - 05:27 am
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"Many walked, but some

"Many walked, but some rode....in one case,....a motorcycle wearing short shorts and a pink feathered boa..."

Yet later in the same article a fella dressed as Daisy Duke said...

"It's fun to poke holes in stereotypes," he said.

AHHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

That is so ironic and funny to me. We break sterotypes by being one? I only wish I had been there to yell YEE HAW!

Glad to see this went off without a hitch, just a few angry God Squad types.

Brad

grinder48
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grinder48 06/20/10 - 06:43 am
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First, I believe people
Unpublished

First, I believe people should be able to do whatever they choose so long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others. I do have a MAJOR problem with spending my tax dollars on this. MAJOR problem! copenhaver, never again ...

grinder48
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grinder48 06/20/10 - 06:42 am
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"Yea but what about all the
Unpublished

"Yea but what about all the other parades in Augusta, they cost tax $" The difference is that we shouldn't be funding sex parades, be they homo, hetero, bi-, trans, etc etc etc. Other types; Greek, Chinese, Irish, MLK, etc. - OK, sex, no. Don't get me wrong, sex is a wonderful thing, but there's a time and place for everything. Public funding of sexual demonstrations is absurd.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 06/20/10 - 07:11 am
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After the success of

After the success of yesterday's festival, I think it's safe to say that no one, including God, cares what you think.

drogovska
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drogovska 06/20/10 - 07:12 am
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What tax dollars were spent

What tax dollars were spent on this? If the mayor had denied the permit for this, then believe me, the city would have spend much, much more on a legal battle, and the city would lose the case. Let's not forget the battle against X-Mart. Just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean you can use hundreds of thousands of taxpayer's dollars just to make a point from your personal sensibilities.

These people were doing AWFUL things like dressing in colorful clothing and carrying signs. HOW AWFUL for our children to be "subjected" to colorful clothing and people carrying signs! How AWFUL for our children to be subjected with PEOPLE HOLDING HANDS IN PUBLIC !

Drogovska

concrndcitzn
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concrndcitzn 06/20/10 - 07:14 am
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Columns > Editorial

Columns > Editorial

Point/Counterpoint: Pro Gay Marriage
By Becky Currence

Published: Saturday, March 4, 2006

Updated: Friday, November 13, 2009

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.

Frank I
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Frank I 06/20/10 - 07:15 am
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worry not grinder, this was

worry not grinder, this was not funded by your tax dollars..

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/20/10 - 07:20 am
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Sounds like the most

Sounds like the most excitement Augusta has had since James Brown got all messed up and started shooting at the cops.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 06/20/10 - 07:26 am
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Riverman1, Not even these

Riverman1,

Not even these guys can match the Godfather's blue, green, yellow, and red custom made three piece all leather Italian suits complete with matching cowboy hat and boots.

Eat your heart out Sir Elton..

Feather boas? Amatuer hour all the way.

Brad

Zoe
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Zoe 06/20/10 - 07:29 am
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Much ado about

Much ado about nothing.........

dodo1234
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dodo1234 06/20/10 - 07:46 am
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You know what is really

You know what is really ironic? A gay person was hatched from a heterosexual breeding. In order for a gay person to be, there had to be a male and female bonding to make baby. I thought the rainbow flag was from Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition?

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 06/20/10 - 08:08 am
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I celebrate hetero pride

I celebrate hetero pride every chance I get. The ladies(female) love it, of course.

oldfella
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oldfella 06/20/10 - 08:11 am
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"I thought the rainbow flag

"I thought the rainbow flag was from Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition?"

Well....the rainbow flag does represent a "push" of another sort.
Just kidding....I have no problem with these people. They don't effect me, unlike Augusta's traffic (Columbia County anyway) daily armed robberies, and other typical city problems. As for children being "exposed" how are kids affected by the almost daily shootings around here that are on the news? Are these normal + natural + approved of by God? I sure hope not.

afadel
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afadel 06/20/10 - 08:33 am
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The parade and festival at

The parade and festival at the Commons were well-organized and great events for our city of Augusta. Congratulations to Isaac Kelly and Travis and other organizers of Augusta Pride, the city of Augusta, Augusta police and the mayor for his proclamation.

afadel
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afadel 06/20/10 - 08:33 am
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The parade and festival at

The parade and festival at the Commons were well-organized and great events for our city of Augusta. Congratulations to Isaac Kelly and Travis and other organizers of Augusta Pride, the city of Augusta, Augusta police and the mayor for his proclamation.

corgimom
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corgimom 06/20/10 - 08:47 am
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There was a gay pride parade

There was a gay pride parade and Augusta is still standing. Imagine that.

I guess now people know there are more than 100 gay people in Augusta, don't they?

RoadKing09
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RoadKing09 06/20/10 - 09:04 am
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Whatever!!

Whatever!!

FaceTheMusic
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FaceTheMusic 06/20/10 - 09:05 am
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An annual Gay Pride Parade in

An annual Gay Pride Parade in Augusta, GA--who would ever had thunk it??? Just like women in the 20s and African Americans in the 60s, gays are no longer willing to be forced to sit at the back of the bus. You go, gays!!!

soldout
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soldout 06/20/10 - 09:11 am
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There are no gays; just those

There are no gays; just those who choose to do a gay sin. Just like there are no bankrobbers but only those who choose to rob a bank. All sex is a choice. God wouldn't declare something a sin and these cause you to have to do that sin. Many of those who think they are gay are seeing the result of a life of consuming too much soy and soy products. If you have a boy and want him to act that way don't feed him soy. Jesus died so people could have a way to free themselves from sin. All sins including gay sins shorten our lives and add anger, sickness and saddness to it. Jesus said if you love me; you do what I teach. No one has to judge a gay as they have already announced they want to do this sin. Many of those along the gulf coast also celebrate and promote sin and that hasn't worked out too well over the past few years. Sowing and reaping always works and Augusta will reap from the sowing done Saturday.

belle
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belle 06/20/10 - 09:14 am
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parade or no parade, what is
Unpublished

parade or no parade, what is the point of trying to convince others that gay people are just like everyone else dressed like the flaming transvestites? You would be much more respected if you marched in the same dress you work and lounge in instead of a costume. Seems to me you missed your point.

corgimom
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corgimom 06/20/10 - 09:17 am
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I guess now that several

I guess now that several thousand of people showed up, the AC doesn't care anymore about how "businesses lost business during the parade."

It wasn't about rainbows, it was about the color green- as in money.

corgimom
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corgimom 06/20/10 - 09:19 am
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"Many of those who think they

"Many of those who think they are gay are seeing the result of a life of consuming too much soy and soy products. If you have a boy and want him to act that way don't feed him soy."

You know, I wonder how people were gay over the thousands of years when they didn't eat soy, and in those countries that don't grow soybeans, how do their people become gay?

And I wonder who in their right mind would believe such nonsense?

andywarhol
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andywarhol 06/20/10 - 09:23 am
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Is it a coincidence that all

Is it a coincidence that all of this gay acceptance with gay movies and tv shows and gay all around us came at an all time low in this country's morality?

soldout
1280
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soldout 06/20/10 - 09:24 am
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No one becomes gay. It is

No one becomes gay. It is just a sin choice.

rcpasc48
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rcpasc48 06/20/10 - 09:29 am
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That life style choice killed

That life style choice killed my brother.  He
died of AIDS.I hate that life style.  I hate it!
 
I miss my brother.  He was a gifted person
that was taken too soon.

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 06/20/10 - 09:31 am
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I'm fortunate to have two
Unpublished

I'm fortunate to have two very good friends, who just happen to be homosexual, that celebrate their lives daily in the comfort of their home.

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