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Gays parade across America for rights

The theme of this year's annual Gay Pride parade was "the fight for love and life".

india Updated: Jun 26, 2006 12:09 IST

Thousands of marchers from New York's homosexual community took part in the city's annual Gay Pride parade, although high spirit were dampened slightly by recent conservative efforts to reverse political gains by US gays and lesbians.

Paraders, in the customary display or flounces and finery generally were in a jubilant mood on Sunday.

But some revellers said they were mindful that the parade this year coincides with the 25th anniversary of the emergence of the deadly AIDS epidemic that decimated America's gay communities.

The theme of this year's procession is "The Fight for Love and Life" marking the somber anniversary.

"AIDS isn't over until it's over for everyone," read one banner. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, in his weekly radio address urged city residents to undergo HIV testing.

In the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, the celebrating paused for a minute of silence in honour of those who have died from the dread disease.

America's gay communities have been rocked by several setbacks in recent weeks.

The US Episcopal Church backtracked Wednesday by asking its local diocese to "exercise restraint" in the controversial ordination of gay clergy, in an attempt to avoid a split in the global Anglican church.

And gay rights activists were outraged last week after a controversial Pentagon document reaffirmed a finding that classified homosexuality as a "mental disorder," along with mental retardation and personality disorders.