Pride festival celebrates acceptance

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - There's a rainbow of colors this weekend in Downtown Toledo's Promenade Park.

The fifth annual Toledo Pride Festival is being held to promote unity and acceptance of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Close to 25,000 people are expected to come for food, entertainment and a big party.

"I feel like we have a very acceptable community. Obviously, there's always room for improvement but I think we're in a great city and I love this place," said Lexi Staples of Toledo Pride.

But there's also a serious side to the festival.

Issues affecting gays are being promoted at booths like 'Why Marriage Matters Ohio.'

Same sex marriage in Ohio is not recognized by law.

Couples can still tie the knot in other states where it's accepted yet have their bond recognized here.

'Why Marriage Matters Ohio' is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would ask voters to approve same sex marriage.

"I think that people should be able to marry who they love and that shouldn't be dictated by strangers," said Sherry Tripepi who lives in Toledo but married her partner in Maine, where same sex marriage is recognized.

"There are people who are worried about what that means and I don't think anybody should tell me who I can love," said Sherry.

But there are some who do.

Opponents of same sex marriage who say they are not from the area preached over a bullhorn outside of the festival grounds.

"In the old testament, there was a strict law that if a man lays with a man and a woman with a woman, it's an abomination," said same sex marriage opponent Brad Grant.

Ms. Tripepi disagrees.

"I think it's very strange that people that talk about God's love are very hateful toward's God's people," she said.

There was no hate inside the festival grounds.

The festival is all about celebrating one's pride and pride in a city they say is accepting to all.

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