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Thousands Bring Style, Substance to Philadelphia's Gay Pride Parade

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia was a lot more colorful on Sunday, with rainbow flags waving and confetti falling from floats along Market Street in Old City as thousands turned out for the Gay Pride Parade and Festival.

Drag queen Astala Vista is a bit more clothed -- if you can call it that -- than the other men on her Venture Inn float.

"Right now, I'm wearing a dress made out of dozens of thrift store stuffed animals," she says. "The whole thing cost me about $10."

(Ian:) And you made it?

(Vista:) "I did -- with hot glue and a prayer."

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Drag queen Astala Vista (far right) on her Venture Inn float. (Credit: Ian Bush)

Sean is easy to spot in the crowd: he's wearing a rhinestone rainbow beard that's somehow staying attached, despite the heat.

"Barely," he explains. "It's medical grade adhesive, so it better work."

Erica from Wilmington is watching the spectacle with her seven- and nine-year-old daughters.

"If you raise children to be aware and be tolerant, then those are the beliefs they'll grow into and embody as they're older," she says. "That's something I'd like to see more of."

Not a protestor was in sight as bands, flag twirlers, corporate and community groups, and dancers strutted their stuff, chucking beads and buttons and glitter into the crowd.

"This is my first time marching or being in a gay parade and seeing all the support, I was just crying the first few blocks," says Bruce from Media. "It's really a wonderful experience."

He marched with Main Line Unitarian Church, one of the many religious groups in the parade.

"We love people and we stand with you no matter your identity," says Rev. Morgan McLean, a minister for the congregation in Devon. "We have for a long time understood that everyone is equal in the eyes of a loving God. Love, equality, and justice is a core of who we are and how we understand ourselves in the world."

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(Credit: Ian Bush)

The Supreme Court is expected to decide this month whether or not marriage rights should be extended to same-sex couples across the country. That issue was on the mind of Molly Tack-Hooper, a staff attorney with the ACLU of PA.

"We need that 50-state solution to bring marriage equality to the country," she says. "But marriage isn't the end of the battle for equality. There are still states like Pennsylvania where same-sex couples can get married but still get fired for being gay. So this is certainly not the end of the fight."

Patrick and Kevin donned 'just married' t-shirts for the event. They recently tied the knot in Chester Springs.

(Patrick:) "We did mostly Penn State colors, because that's where we're from originally. We had a string quartet -- it was very beautiful."

(Kevin:) "We kind of waited a little bit just to see what the courts were all doing. I'm glad we did it -- we were able to save up enough money for a nice wedding."

Quietly stationed across from the reviewing stand at 5th and Market Streets, Ron from Norristown holds up a sign for which he's been getting plenty of high-fives.

"It says 'equality and love and not intolerance and hate,'" he notes. "It's important because everybody deserves a fair break. Everybody deserves love."

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