SALT LAKE CITY -- As the country waits to hear the United States Supreme Court’s historic ruling on same-sex marriage, Utah’s Pride Festival officially kicked-off Thursday.
“Pride is inclusion," said Jocelyn Johnson, who is the manager of the rally and march.
Mathew Landis, entertainment manager, added: “Pride is entertainment. Pride is having fun. Pride is having a good time and being happy, that’s what it is to me.”
The theme of this year’s Pride Festival in downtown Salt Lake City is “Pride is”, and organizers have left it up to you to finish the sentence. A few things we know, Pride is the largest fundraiser for the Utah Pride Center, and more than 35,000 people attended last year’s festival.
“It’s what allows us, it funds a lot of our programs,” said Kent Frogley, who is the president of the board for the Utah Pride Center. “It’s what allows us every day across the street to save lives and keep families together.”
Utah’s LGBT community is celebrating major changes in public policy over the past two years, from legal same-sex marriage in the Beehive State to the passage of Utah’s landmark non-discrimination law this past legislative session.
Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court could legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
“It would be the best thing in general for our community if that equality were extended to across the United States," Johnson said.
In its 31 year history, the march and parade has been a protest event.
“Things have changed significantly, historically,” Johnson said. “We’re not illegal in many very important ways, which means more people come out younger and into a world where there is less marginalization.”
Organizers said this year’s event is more about inclusion and acceptance. There are five stages with numerous bands, musical acts, and performers--along with a karaoke stage and a spoken word stage for a poetry slam contest.
“It is the funnest weekend of the year put on by the LGBT community, but it’s for the entire community," Landis said.
For more information about Utah Pride Festival 2015, visit their website.