Facebook chief marches in San Francisco gay pride parade

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg joined more than 700 of the leading social network's employees to march in a euphoric San Francisco gay Pride Parade that drew more than a million people.

Mr Zuckerberg and others in the Facebook contingent used ink pads and rubber stamps to temporarily brand 'like' onto people's skin as the 250 official parade entries made their way through the heart of San Francisco on Sunday.

More than 1,500 photos from the parade were on display at Zuckerberg's Facebook page. This is the third year that Facebook has taken part in the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade.

The typically festive event was infused with additional energy due to a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court which cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California on Friday.

Two days earlier, the court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (Doma), which denied federal benefits to married gay and lesbian couples by strictly defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The court also said a case on Proposition 8, a 2008 California voter initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage in the nation's most populous state, was improperly brought before them.

That 5-4 decision enabled the justices to dodge the thorny issue of whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

More than 15 million posts, comments and other 'interactions' along with more than 25 million pictures were part of a 'colorful conversation' that erupted on Facebook after Doma was overturned, according to the social network.

About 70 per cent of Facebook members in the United States are connected to a friend who has identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual at the social network, according to Facebook's Alex Walker and Robert D'Onofrio.

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