New York gay pride parade fetes Supreme Court ruling

NEW YORK CITY (AFP) - With wild fanfare, dancing and a sea of rainbow-coloured flags, New York's annual gay pride parade Sunday feted the US Supreme Court's historic decision on same-sex marriage.

The star of the march down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue was Edith Windsor, a widow whose case prompted the country's highest court last week to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to married gay and lesbian couples.

The 84-year-old widow, in a red convertible, served as the "captain" of the colourful event attended by tens of thousands. "Last year I danced my way down the entire route of the parade," she told reporters, her face hidden behind a straw hat.

"If somebody had told me 15 years ago that I would be the marshal of the New York City gay pride parade in 2013, at the age of 84, I would never have believed it." Last year's event celebrated the first anniversary of the legalisation of gay marriage in the state of New York.

Along the parade route Sunday, some carried signs that read "Thank you, Edie." Windsor was hit with a US$363,000 (S$460,640) estate tax bill after the 2009 death of her lifelong partner Thea Spyer, whom she had married in Canada. Had the couple been straight, the tax bill would have been much less.

"Edie you've changed the world," said Ms Christine Quinn, a Democrat running for New York mayor. Should she win, she would become the first woman and the first lesbian to lead the city.

Taking place for the 44th time this year, the parade traditionally weaves its way down parts of Fifth Avenue to finish up in Greenwich Village, the cradle of the US fight for gay rights.