West Hollywood wasn’t the only proud place this weekend. Gay pride fever swept across Europe, where countless queers came out to show their gay faces.
An estimated 2,000 people marched through Warsaw, a particularly potent number considering the Polish government continues to rally against the gays. And so, too, do the Polish people:
Some 2,000 people paraded Saturday through the streets of Poland’s capital in support of gay rights, as an opinion poll showed the deeply Catholic country largely hostile to homosexuality.
Police were out in force to prevent feared attacks by extreme-right groups as a procession of floats passed through Warsaw’s main avenues to the sound of dance music.
The poll by the CBOS institute published Saturday showed that 69 percent of Poles believed gays should keep silent about their sexual preferences, 37 percent disapproved of homosexual relationships and 31 percent said homosexuality should not be tolerated.
Of the 1,116 adults questioned between May 9 and 12, 76 percent were against gay marriages, and 90 percent objected to adoption of children by gay or lesbian couples.
The event attracted controversy after it was denied permission by city authorities to congregate near the Basilica of St John’s in Lateran.
They claimed it would disrupt a concert scheduled to take place in the Basilica.
More than 10,000 people took to the streets for the Pride parade, some wearing clerical robes. The recently-elected Pope-friendly government of Silvio Berlusconi was also a target for ridicule and protest. “Berlusconi kisses the pope’s slipper and says ‘yes’ to everything,” Franco Grillini, a gay former MP, told Reuters.
“We risk a theocracy and clerical dictatorship.”
That, of course, would be a bad thing.
Gay Greeks also marched this weekend, and, as in California, marriage proved to be a big theme:
[The mood in Athens was uplifting] as some 2,000 gays and lesbians took to the streets only four days after the country’s first same-sex marriages.
One of the newlyweds, 47-year-old Evangelia Vlami, head of the Greek Union of Homosexuals and Lesbians (Olke), rode at the head of the parade that drew twice as many participants this year as in previous years.
Demonstrators wore banners with “Say yes to me”, “Yes to political marriage”.
Sure, sign us up!