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Gay couple to wed on float in Rose Parade

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(CNN) — A gay couple from Los Angeles, California, is planning to tie the knot live during the Rose Parade in Pasadena Wednesday.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will host the ceremony on its float and chose the pair from more than a dozen couples who wanted the chance to wed during the parade, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Danny Leclair, 45, popped the question to longtime partner Aubrey Loots, 42, by sending him a picture of two toy grooms holding hands, according to the Times.

“Having my relationship recognized legally is already a dream come true,” Leclair said in a statement from AHF. “To be able to declare my love to the world at large in hopes of inspiring others to live proudly and authentically is an enormous honor.”

“It’s awe-inspiring to be committing your life to another person and to have millions of people bear witness. I didn’t imagine this happening in my lifetime,” Loots said in the same statement.

The theme for the AHF float this year is “Love is the Best Protection,” a message the foundation says recognizes the “role marriage can play in reducing HIV infections among gay men.”

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the non-profit organization that hosts the Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade, has received a lot of criticism on its Facebook page regarding the same-sex marriage.

“The parade is not the appropriate place for a homosexual wedding. A parade should not be political or divisive,” a woman named Brenda wrote.

“So sad that for the first time our family will not be watching the parade. We do not wish to be slapped in the face with something so extremely offensive to us,” wrote another woman named Marsha.

Many others, however, took to the Facebook page to voice their support.

“Cheers to celebrations of love and equality. Thank you, Tournament of Roses, for choosing to usher in 2014 in such fine fashion! How lovely to let the world celebrate with this happy couple. Kudos!” wrote a woman named AnnaLisa.

“What a beautiful and hopeful way to start the year. Thank you for including all families. I’ve never watched the Rose Parade before, but I will be certain to watch it in 2014!” a woman named Samantha commented.

The Tournament of Roses said it was “pleased” AHF was participating in this year’s event.

“It is the organization’s third entry in three years tied to their mission of delivering medical services and advocacy in fighting AIDS worldwide. Like all of our sponsors and float designers, AHF continues to help make the Rose Parade a premier event through original and creative expressions that connect to parade themes — as this float does.”

The theme for this year’s parade is “Dreams Come True,” and AHF says Leclair and Loots will be “living the dream” as they tie the knot this week.

The state of California began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples again in June after a years-long legal battle.

The Michigan State Spartans will play the Stanford Cardinals during the Rose Bowl on Wednesday. Kickoff begins at 5:10 p.m. ET.

By Amanda Sloane,

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