Rain dampers turnout on gay rights event

    The weekend rain kept many away from the gay and lesbian rally downtown on Sunday. The event marked the 44th anniversary of the first national gay demonstration, and addressed gay marriage, hate crimes, and military service.

    The weekend rain kept many away from the gay and lesbian rally downtown on Sunday. The event marked the 44th anniversary of the first national gay demonstration, and addressed gay marriage, hate crimes, and military service.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090503pcrally.mp3]

    Thousands were expected but only a few hundred showed up on Independence Mall. Even the beer tent was sparsely populated. But Stephanie Rudolph says the rain was not dampening spirits.

    Rudolph: I think if you look around you’ll see a lot of smiling faces. I don’t think it matters if it rains or not. It’s raining gays today.

    The rally included musical performances and speeches by activists. Dave Milley of New Jersey has been with his partner for 32 years. He says allowing gays to marry is his number-one concern.

    Milley: I’ve being paying an extra 2 to 3000 dollars a year in taxes that a straight married couple doesn’t have to pay. So gay marriage means something very real, it’s money out of my pocket that I need to get back.

    A handful of religious demonstrators were present denouncing homosexual behavior as sinful.

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