St. Louis Pridefest celebrates Supreme Court marriage ruling

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - One of the big summer events in downtown St. Louis takes on new meaning this weekend, as Pridefest dominates the area around the Soldier’s Memorial. The annual event celebrating gay rights was lifted to a different level, Friday, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the right to marry is protected nationwide for all couples, straight or gay.

Those running Pridefest say it was quite a moment when the word trickled down.

“You could just hear the ripple effect throughout festival,” event vice president Ethan Barnett said. “The mood changed dramatically. It’s a festive event as it is, but now we really have something special.”

There are signs everywhere that the law is essentially playing catch up with public opinion. This once small event for the LGBT community has grown into a major downtown festival with corporate support from all industries.

The view of corporations was also visible online after the Supreme Court decision as companies tweeted altered versions of their logos in the rainbow colors signifying gay rights.

“What you’re seeing are a lot of national brands and global brands that are trying to stay true to their culture, but they’re also seeing the Supreme Court supporting gay marriage as an opportunity to engage the LGBT community,” Elasticity Marketing Managing Partner Aaron Perlut said.

He says there are also signs of who opposed the ruling.

“You have brands like Chic-Fil-A, which is on the other end of the spectrum, a very conservative brand, and they’re just not saying anything.”

Volunteers for the Human Rights Campaign were still out soliciting supporters, Saturday. The court victory was, in part, a product of their work, but they say this very big win doesn’t mean they’re finished.

“There is still a lot of work to be done. When you consider the fact that you can get married on Saturday in many states, and post a picture on Facebook and be fired on Monday, because there are not protections in the workplace that outlaw discrimination against LGBT people.”

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