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Twin Cities Pride Festival Celebrates Marriage Equality Ruling

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's a historic year for the annual Twin Cities Pride festival -- the event comes just a day after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage nationwide.

The court's 5 to 4 ruling means all 50 states have to allow same sex couples to marry. Gay couples could already marry in 26 states, including Minnesota, after it was legalized in 2013.

The Twin Cities Pride Festival was held in Loring Park Saturday, and featured hundreds of vendors and thousands of spectators. It was still a very different scene than what Twin Cities Pride was when it started 43 years ago, or even a decade ago.

The sound of wedding bells often echo through Loring Park, but they mean more at Twin Cities Pride.

"We've got more to celebrate -- we can walk around saying 'I'm gonna get married next month,' ... and be happy about it," Minneapolis resident Carol Bulchuck said at the event.

Bulchuck and her wife Dianne Star got married in Minnesota in 2013. They never thought they'd attend a pride festival when marriage equality would be the law all over the country, until yesterday.

"It's just yeah I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime," Star said.

Star -- who has been to 25 Pride festivals -- says there's been a drastic increase in the acceptance of the event and the LGBT community in the last five years.

"We can walk around holding hands and not feel like you're going to get looked at," Bulchuck said. "More families -- that's one of the big things I notice."

Families, people young and old, and even dogs are embracing the LGBT community at this year's Pride festival.

"It's definitely grown up a lot," said Miguel Eugenio of St. Cloud Pride. "I think people are starting to realize that it's good to accept people for who they are."

On one end of the festival, Mayor Betsey Hodges was performing wedding ceremonies for same sex couples. At the other, there was a drag show to entertain spectators. It's a weekend dedicated to people celebrating their identities.

"We've got a lot to celebrate," Bulchuck said. "A lot to go yet, but a lot to celebrate."

The festival runs through Sunday evening. For a full schedule of events, head to the Twin Cities Pride website.

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