Cultural exhibitionism or political grandstanding? The motivation behind a Rose Parade float featuring a gay wedding depends on who you ask. The float, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), featured a wedding cake with two men on top, who married during the parade. Millions witnessed the wedding this morning, in person or on television, during the annual New Year's tradition.
According to AHF, the theme of the float was "Love is the Best Protection." It seems like an odd, if not dangerous, statement to make for an organization trying to stop the spread of AIDS (doctors would argue a condom or abstinence might protect a bit better). They also say the float was meant to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage in several states. Their website included an op-ed from the LA Daily News stating gay marriage is now as mainstream as the Rose Parade itself. From their standpoint, the float, and the wedding, were part of a larger political statement.
For the two men who actually got married, their motivation seemed to be more about showcasing themselves. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Aubrey Loots thought the idea by the AHF to hold their wedding ceremony on the float was "crazy," but agreed, saying "Of course, let's celebrate our love in front of the world."
Tens of thousands of Americans continue to contract AIDS each year. While gays still make up a majority of those infected, a growing number of straight individuals are among those who contract the disease. Young people and minorities are getting AIDS at much higher numbers than years past. Numbers released today by New York City's health department found that most of the city's new AIDS cases among women came from unprotected sex with bisexual partners. Rather than using the opportunity to create a teachable moment and possibly save some lives, the AHF chose a publicity stunt that, in the final analysis, served no useful purpose at all.
Rose Parade organizers are usually very particular with the floats and groups allowed in the event. In 2012, parade organizers rejected a float by Occupy Wall Street.
Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link here or at the top of this page.