The South Carolina Pride Movement 20th annual parade and festival in Columbia drew thousands of gays and lesbians and their supporters from around the state Saturday.
A parade began at the Statehouse and preceded down Main Street to Findlay Park. The front of the Statehouse was a picture of political diversity–the steps were draped in rainbow colored cloth, the symbol of the gay movement, as the confederate flag waved in the breeze out in front.
But the event wasn’t without protesters.
Elder Ricky Smith was among a group of a few dozen church members from True Light Church in Spartanburg. Walker carried a sign reading “”The early church did not fear the sodomites.”
“We’re telling people to repent from being sodomites, from a wicked lifestyle, from being lesbians,” Smith said. “It’s not bible. It’s against nature. And we’re also trying to impeach Obama, because he’s the one, who with the stroke of a pen, could eradicate this foolishness.”
All of the True Light Church men wore black, the women wore white, including head dresses. Some played brass trombones.
South Carolina Pride Movement President Ryan Wilson is originally from Baltimore but is an alumni of Clemson and USC. He says there were at least four churches represented at the event which were in support of gays and lesbians.
Wilson says the event has grown tremendously since the first gathering two decades ago. “There were only 2000 people who first marched down the street and met at the Statehouse. But now we have a full festival and parade, and an entire week of events.”