South Bay Pride and the mood of its organizers was permanently changed in June when the United States Supreme Court ruled against supporters of California’s Proposition 8 allowing same-sex couples to be legally married in the state.
While the legal battle over marriage equality in the U.S. is likely to continue in courtrooms in the coming years, organizers of the South Bay PRIDE Art and Music Festival say this year’s event is more of a victory celebration than it has been in previous years.
“This is not just about an LGBT celebration,” said Dae Elliot, executive committee chair at South Bay Alliance which organizes the festival. “It’s a celebration of community. To celebrate diversity. ”
South Bay Alliance has been hosting the event in Chula Vista since 2007 to raise awareness and acceptance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community in South Bay.
New to this year’s festival, a few same-sex couples will win a free wedding through South Bay Pride’s My Gay Wedding Contest and the ceremonies will take place at the festival.
“Having the weddings is a good way to celebrate the victory,” said Elliot. “Our focus was always a fight for marriage equality, and now that it’s here, it’s a celebration.”
As always the event will feature art displays, live music, food, and a wine and beer garden. It will be held at Bayfront Park in Chula Vista. Previously held at Memorial Park, this will be its first year on the waterfront.
The Port of San Diego waved the fees for use of the park as it frequently does for events which have a favorable impact on the community and the port. The port also awarded a $5,000 sponsorship to the festival.
“The port came through for us like you wouldn’t believe,” Elliot said.
With current projects to beautify San Diego’s waterfront and make it a more public space, organizers say the festival will also help raise awareness in the community about South Bay’s waterfront.
“It’s really good to get everyone out there and see the space,” said Alysia Pope, a spokesperson for the festival from McFarlane Promotions. “It’s good for the vendors and the community as well.”
While the celebratory spirits are high in LGBT community over the marriage ruling, Elliot says the Alliance’s push for recognition and equality in South Bay will not be losing any steam.
Their future battle cry will likely be for causes that support young people, with the fight to end bullying a high priority.