Organizers of the Rose Parade are defending the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's plans to hold a same-sex wedding on its float amid criticism and complaints posted online.
The float, titled "Living the Dream: Love Is the Best Protection," was created to celebrate victories in 2013 for gay-marriage advocates, including Supreme Court decisions upholding the repeal of California's Proposition 8 and striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Foundation spokesman Ged Kenslea said the organization supports legally sanctioning same-sex marriage because it encourages more stable relationships as well as behavior that will prevent the spread of HIV.
"We believe that marriage saves lives," he said.
But the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn. has received complaints from people opposing the wedding. Some took to the organization's Facebook page to voice their anger, calling the wedding "unbiblical" and "highly offensive."
"I can't think of many things LESS appropriate for families and especially children," one wrote. "It's completely the wrong venue for a stunt like this."
A separate Facebook page has also been started called "Boycott the 2014 Rose Parade," with more than 1,600 "likes" as of Sunday. A post reads: "Gay 'marriage' is still illegal in over 30 states. Why would the Tournament of Roses promote something illegal like that?"
In a statement released to the Los Angeles Times, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn. said it is "pleased" to have the foundation participate in this year's event.
"It is the organization's third entry in three years tied to their mission of delivering medical services and advocacy in fighting AIDS worldwide," the statement says.
The foundation's float will be one of the last in Wednesday's parade. The wedding -- of Danny Leclair, 45, and Aubrey Loots, 42 -- will take place about 9:30 a.m.
Kenslea said the wedding is the perfect way to honor the parade's theme of "Dreams Come True," by showing the dream of lesbians and gay men realized.
Leclair said he can't wait to be "legally married to the person I've committed my life to and been with for the past 12 years."
--Soumya Karlamangla, Los Angeles Times