Glitter, glue and love for the W held together Weber State University’s float for its debut in Utah’s 2014 Pride parade.
The WSU float was about more than pride. It symbolized how culturally diverse Weber is, Alisha Stucki, first chair to the president of WSU’s Gay Straight Alliance said. It was about showing how bleeding purple teaches that everyone bleeds the same.
“Showing we have a presence there [at Pride], showing the kids in high school who might or might not have thought about going to Weber before, because they didn’t know if there was queer acceptance, now they are going to know that we accept them,” Stucki said. “It’s huge for us.”
WSU has walked in the Pride festival before, but Stucki said having the help of the new LGBT Resource center and the tremendous faculty support made the float possible this year.
Students and faculty from the Center for Diversity and Unity, GSA and the LGBT Resource center worked tirelessly Saturday to create the lavish float that campus Diversity Program Coordinator Teresa Holt and her committee envisioned.
Decked out from top to bottom in rainbow sequence and white and purple glitter with President Wight at the helm, the float followed the route with Wildcats chanting “Weber State, Weber State, Great, Great, Great!” as they passed the enthusiastic crowd.
Special events are how people celebrate both their diversity and success, said Chad Mosher, associate director of scheduling, events and conferences at Weber State.
“I think with Weber States commitment to diversity, this is just another physical or tangible piece that shows we are really committed,” Mosher said. “When a community is prosperous, they tend to be more lavish, exciting and fun, and I think we’re in a good time, and a lot of people are paying attention to education and diversity and caring about one another and this float in a way demonstrates that.”
With Utah providing court case expected to put marriage equality before the Supreme Court, this pride festival was special for LGBTQ members, allies and for the almost 1,300 couples that got married during the 17-day window on Dec. 20, when U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby overturned Utah’s ban on gay marriage, ruling it unconstitutional.
“This has been one of the funnest days I’ve had ever, and it’s a momentous time for Utah gays and lesbians, because we are making history, and it’s so appropriate in Utah,” Grand Marshal Kate Call said. “Utah has made history being the first state that overturned a constitutional amendment.”
Call is one of the six plaintiffs in Utah’s same-sex marriage case heard by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in early April, which is expected to have a ruling any day now.
Call said it was great to be in front of the three 10th Circuit Court federal judges to hear their arguments and questions posed to the lawyers.
“Two of the judges seemed very favorable toward us. In fact, one was making our arguments for us, the second seem partial to us, the third, Judge Kelly, was less positive,” Call said. “He seemed not to be in our favor at all, but we only need a majority and a majority counts as a win, so I am hopeful we will have a win out of the 10th Circuit Appeals court.”
Jolene Mewing, local organizer at Marriage Equality USA who was also in Colorado at the 10th Circuit Court, said it was an incredible experience to be in a room filled with so many people making history.
“It’s one thing to watch it on the news and to watch it unfold from your living room, and it’s another thing to be in a room where history is taking place,” Mewing said.
Mewing and many of the grand marshals were laughing and crying with tears of joy as they got ready for the parade to start and after the parade was over she said the crowd made her feel like Utah was uniting for equality.
“I’ve been to the Pride parade many, many years, and I have never seen so much hard work put into floats before,” Mewing said. “We have had some beautiful parades before, but nothing like this. There is just something in the air this year. The people are just really feeling it, they’re feeling the pride.”