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Wedding on AIDS Rose Parade float shows ‘Love Is the Best Protection’

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If only the cake had been real…and there were slices for everyone…but alas, the three-tiered cake was only a platform for the third wedding to occur aboard a Rose Parade float. The happy couple getting married on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float were Danny Leclair and Aubrey Loots.

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The float, “Love Is the Best Protection,” was designed and built by Fiesta Parade Floats and won the prestigious Isabella Coleman award for Best Presentation of Color and Color Harmony through Floral Use. It was a kitschy fantasy, blending a traditional floral arch and topiary with a rotating “Love” cube inspired by an original creation of pop artist Robert Indiana and thoroughly modern, comical slant-tiered wedding cake.

The cake was covered with coconut flake and sweet rice with polka dots and swirls of red kidney beans replicating a pastry chef’s decorations. The floral pieces, done mostly in shades of green and white, were accented with 6,000 red, coral, peach and orange roses. The arches and rose trees used 12,000 Jade and Green tea roses. Other flora included tulips, lilies, orchids, anthuriums, hydrangea, vines of curly willow, and ferns.

Leclair and Loots own a chain of hair salons and have been together for 12 years. They entered a contest run by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to be the first gay couple wed on a Rose Parade float. Like the first couple, Carrie Humphries and Ron Simms who wed in 1989, they exchanged vows prior to the start of the parade. The second couple, Nicole Angelillo and Gerald Sapienza, were wed at the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado at the formal start of the Parade in 2013.

The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Alfreda Lanoix of the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ. Riders included Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer, who have been together 42 years and were legally married in California in 2008, according to Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

In media material, AHF said, “The gay and lesbian communities have been some of the most powerful advocates in the fight for treatment and justice since the AIDS crisis began in the 1980s. This year, after over five years of legislative battles against discrimination, gay marriage was legalized in the state of California—where AIDS Healthcare Foundation originated–as well as in many other US states. AHF would like to honor the communities that have fought so hard for the rights of those living with HIV and who have now won an important civil rights victory themselves…. The hope for gay and lesbian marriages was once just a dream for many couples. This year, dreams came true for many loving couples who could finally have the ‘happiest day’ of their lives through marriage.”

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