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The mission of the Long Island Pride Parade is to create a safe environment to celebrate PRIDE on Long Island with all members of our community both GLBT and straight.
Long Island Pride history and the Town of Huntington are linked since 1991 with a legal show cause order and hearing. In 1991 founding members of the Long Island Lesbian and Gay Pride and Freedom Committee (now known as Long Island Pride Parade Inc.) worked hard to win the right to hold a Long Island Pride event. After applying and being turned down in Northport and Port Jefferson for permits to hold a parade, the committee approached Huntington.
Founding members Leah Gustavson, David Kilmnick, Cara Wilson and Steve Henaghan were stunned when the Huntington Supervisor turned down the committee's request, especially after hearing the reason. The refusal to grant a parade permit was that only traditional parades were allowed on Huntington's streets Memorial Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc.). The committee decided not to let that go and the ACLU provided a lawyer to try to sue the Town of Huntington for the right to hold the parade. On May 28, 1991 in a Federal Court, Judge Leonard D. Wexler heard both arguments and announced that the committee won their case and granted a permit. The 1st Long Island Pride Parade took place on June 9, 1991 in front of 1,000 to 2,000 spectators.
From those roots in 1991 to the present day Pride event that close to 4,000 people take part in. That number includes marchers, spectators and Festival participants. Over 100 LI GLBT organizations proudly participate in the days' events celebrating our pride and uniting as one voice in the fight for equal rights.
Long Island GLBT's applaud the Founding Members for their courage to put themselves right in the middle of a legal battle that brought along with it derisive remarks from the homophobic misinformed. The strength and courage to take this cause public, as they did, is he very foundation of Long Island Pride. We must never forget their courage and always remember and honor them in years to come!
The present day committee also wants to let everyone know that the Town of Huntington now is very supportive of our event and with the help from the Huntington Town Supervisor and Board, and their respective staff, Long Island Pride is now a much looked forward to event in Huntington.
With the help of Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper proclamations were issued at the 2002 Rally by Leg. Coop and Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, declaring the 2nd Sunday of every June as LONG ISLAND PRIDE DAY!
Pride is steeped in controversy, legal battles and political red tape throughout the United States. Strides hopefully are made through the public's education for our equal rights. Nothing good every comes easy. Each year there are new struggles and new obstacles along the path. It's nice to know what started on Long Island as a court ordered relationship is now based in professional courtesy and mutual respect.
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