Aubrey Loots, right, and Danny Leclair, the first gay couple to be married aboard a float in the Tournament of Roses, kiss after being wed by the Rev. Alfreda Lanoix of the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ, left, aboard the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float in the 125th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
The President's Trophy float, "Sea of Surprises" from SeaWorld, on the parade route during the 125th Rose Parade on January 1, 2014 in Pasadena, California. Police officers made 19 arrests during the parade when protestors from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, tried to stop the SeaWorld Float over complaints about the treatment of orcas at the marine theme park.
The Tournament of Roses queen and court wave from their float in 125th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. Clockwise from lower left are Princess Jamie Kwong, Princess Sarah Hansen, Princess Katie Lipp, Rose Queen Ana Acosta, Princess Elyssia Widjaja, Princess Elizabeth Woolf, and Princess Kayla Johnson-Granberry.
The 125th annual Rose Parade kicked off in Pasadena under clear, sunny skies Wednesday morning as spectators packed the streets for one of the world's largest New Year's Day celebrations.
Longtime Dodgers announcer Vin Scully served as Grand Marshal, setting the parade in motion.
This year's parade featured its first gay wedding ceremony.
At the tail end of its two-hour broadcast, KTLA5 showed Danny LeClair and Aubrey Loots kiss and wave after being wed atop a float entered by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Notably, several networks appeared to cut away or quickly move on from the AHF float.
"We are very pleased with coverage on channel 5, KTLA. They mentioned the wedding and showed the kiss," said Ged Kenslea, AHF's communications director.
"We are disappointed that NBC did not show the wedding, though we realize it is their right," Kenslea said. "But it is disingenuous for NBC to cover it as a news story and not include it in their parade coverage"
LeClair and Loots sparked protests and debate after they announced their plans to wed atop a parade float while the world looked on.
The two men told KPCC last month they had intended to marry after a Supreme Court decision in June allowed same-sex marriages to resume in California, but they sped up their plans when they realized how vast a platform they would have in the Rose Parade.
At least two other weddings have been performed at a Rose Parade, including one last year. But Loots and LeClair's marked the first such ceremony for a gay couple.
While parade organizers did not provide an interview or comment directly on the wedding, they did issue the following statement:
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses is pleased to have AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) participate with a float entry in the 125th Rose Parade. It is the organization’s third entry in three years tied to their mission of delivering medical services and advocacy in fighting AIDS worldwide. Like all of our sponsors and float designers, AHF continues to help make the Rose Parade a premier event through original and creative expressions that connect to parade themes – as this float does.
AHF's float, "Love Is The Best Protection," won an award for best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use.
"We’re very proud of the award we were honored with," Kenslea said.
The winning floats
Other winning floats from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses were announced Wednesday morning.
The Past Presidents' Award for most creative design and use of floral and non-floral materials went to Western Asset Management Co. for its "So close, yet Safari away" by Phoenix Decorating.
The City of Glendale was also honored for best depiction of life in California for "Let's Be Neighbors," also built by Phoenix Decorating. That float depicted "Meatball," the trash-rummaging California black bear who made headlines after repeatedly invading the foothill neighborhoods around Glendale.
Check out the complete list of winners below.
Trouble before and during parade leads to arrests
Pasadena police made 17 arrests in the hours leading up to the Rose Parade, fewer than the year before.
Most were for public intoxication.
But police lieutenant Terysa Rojas said officers also made 19 arrests during the parade when protestors from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, tried to stop the SeaWorld Float.
"The people arrested were trying to stand in front of the float to hinder it's progress, which they were not successful at. As soon as they jumped up either Pasadena PD or L.A. Sheriff's whisked them away with no problem," Rojas said.
PETA said one of the 19 arrested was 12-year-old Rose McCoy, a New York native who also jumped the barricade to protest a similar float at the Macy's Parade last year.
The animal rights organization said SeaWorld abuses its orca whales.
This story has been updated.