One of the world's oldest and largest gay pride parades was expected to become a victory celebration Sunday after New York's historic decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

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One of the world’s oldest and largest gay pride parades was expected to become a victory celebration Sunday after New York’s historic decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

Parade organizers were expecting half a million people to participate in the march, which comes two days after state lawmakers transformed the wedding dreams of gay couples into reality. Floats, music and dancing were expected to enliven the city streets with bright flourishes of carnival-like revelry.

State Sen. Tom Duane, a Manhattan Democrat who is gay, said he planned to join in the festivities.

“I always love the parade,” Duane said in an interview Saturday. “It’s like Christmas and New Year’s all wrapped into one, but I think it’ll be particularly joyous, so I’m really looking forward to that.”

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Duane said he and his partner had first discussed marriage when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, but opted not to make any decisions until it became legal in New York. They have not made any plans yet.

“That will be next week’s project,” Duane said.

There may even be a few surprise engagements during the parade, which begins at noon at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue before heading downtown.

It ends at Greenwich and Christopher streets, near where gays rebelled against authorities and repressive laws outside the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village on June 28, 1969 – helping to trigger the gay rights movement.

A year later, several hundred people marched through the neighborhood to commemorate the riots in what is commonly considered the world’s first gay pride parade.

This year’s grand marshals include author and sex columnist Dan Savage and Terry Miller, who married in Canada; the Rev. Pat Bumgardner, the senior pastor of Metroplitan Community Church of New York and a proponent of gay rights; and the Imperial Court of New York, which raises money for gay health and social services.

The law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday doesn’t take effect for 30 days. It was passed amid opposition from influential religious groups in the state.


AP Radio correspondent Julie Walker contributed to this report.

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