St. Pete Pride organizer says record crowd of 150k+ is expected due to Supreme Court decisions

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Decisions regarding same-sex marriage made by the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday are influencing the annual St. Pete Pride parade.

Event organizers are expecting 150,000 people to attend the day's events, which could be a record crowd.  In past years, the event has drawn about 90,000 people.

"It is mostly because of the Supreme Court decision and the amount of people coming in to celebrate that, what it means for the LGBT community," said Eric Skains, executive director of St. Pete Pride.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to married same sex couples.

Justices also ruled that California's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

"It's been a monumental week and this is the place to be right now in Florida," explained Kelsey Barbee, who drove up from Ft. Myers to take part in the celebration.  "There is a little hope and a little weight off our shoulders."

Skains expects the tone of the parade to be 'electric' with an 'outpouring of emotion.'

"We anticipate tears. We are anticipating any type of emotional reaction people could have over this decision," Skains said.

The LGBT community is also celebrating another political victory.  For the first time, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will participate in the parade.

"It makes sense that he come out in support of the community of which he represents as part of Tampa Bay," Skains added.

Parade attendees say they are thankful for the mayor's support and hope state leaders mirror his actions.

"I am just as equal as anybody else and I can go out and get married and do that so as soon as Florida gets on the bandwagon....that'd be great," said Michelle Vigil of Tampa.

The festivities begin at 9 a.m.  However, the parade starts on Central Avenue at 10 a.m. and is expected to go until 4 p.m.

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