How the LGBT community celebrated Independence Day
The United States of America turned 240 years old over this Fourth of July weekend and the American members of the LGBT global community took part in the celebration of Independence Day.
The first LGBT float in Philadelphia’s Independence Day parade
This year marks the first time that an LGBT float was included in Philadelphia’s Independence Day parade.
In an interview with Philly.com, local LGBT newspaper publisher Mark Segal said: “This float means something to me because of the word ‘love.’ What we’re saying is, it’s OK to have love. This is the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.”
There is an undeniable connection between the Fourth of July and the city’s LGBT community with over five decades of history. On this same day in 1965, the first Annual Reminder picket was held in front of Independence Hall.
LGBT people at that time held the Annual Reminder picket to inform and remind the American public that they don’t enjoy basic civil rights protections.
Pickets were held yearly until 1969, with the final picket taking place shortly after the Stonewall Riots.
LGBT representation in Sioux Falls parade
Meanwhile, thousands attended the Independence Day parade in downtown Sioux Falls, SD. People came out in droves to see the floats.
On the one day out of the year where the United States is truly united, the local LGBT community was well-represented in the parade. The message was clear: no other labels or stereotypes on this day, only Americans.
“We come together as a nation– whether here in Sioux Falls, whether in New York, or whether in San Francisco–we’re all a nation, a nation of one,” said Sioux Falls resident Charles White in an interview with KDLT News.
Mississippi’s anti-LGBT HB 1523 law struck down
Lastly, US District Judge Carlton W. Reeves issued an injunction against Mississippi’s HB 1523, hours before it was set to take effect last week.
HB 1523 would have allowed people with certain religious beliefs to deny certain services to some people, particularly the LGBT community.
In his 60-page opinion, Reeves said the law violates both the Equal Protection Clause and the Establishment Clause.
This is the first time a federal judge has declared that one of the so-called “religious liberty” bills, designed to disadvantage LGBT people, violates the US Constitution.
Mississippi is almost certain to appeal this ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which leans conservative.
But Reeves’ ruling is essentially bulletproof, on everything from technical issues to broad constitutional questions.
Reeves has given LGBT advocates their biggest triumph since the landmark Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality last year.
This was truly a cause for celebration for LGBT folk and all of America over the Independence Day weekend.