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. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Reactions varied after two men were married atop a Rose Parade float on Wednesday despite protests and calls for a boycott leading up to the New Year's Day celebration.
Danny LeClair and Aubrey Loots drew cheers from the crowd as they tied the knot atop a float sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The float had come to a stop at an intersection and the two men exchanged vows. Immediately after, white doves were released into the sky.
"I think it was incredible they included it. It's really inspirational. Having been one of the initial physicians in the United States working with HIV patients in the first crisis, it's been something I've supported it forever," said Stuart Levine, a doctor from Redondo Beach who saw the wedding.
It was the first time a same-sex couple had been married at the Rose Parade. At least two other weddings have occurred during the parade, including one last year, but they involved a man and a woman, and this ceremony attracted controversy for Pasadena's Tournament of Roses foundation.
The wedding prompted hundreds of comments, both positive and negative, on the Rose Parade's official Facebook page.
"I was also disappointed that a gay wedding float was included in what should have been a family friendly parade," wrote one commenter.
"I really loved the AHF's float with the marriage ceremony, a perfect representation of your theme," wrote another.
More negative comments appeared on another Facebook page launched specifically in protest of the wedding, titled "Boycott the 2014 Rose Parade."
"Gay 'marriage' is still illegal in over 30 states. Why would the Tournament of Roses promote something illegal like that?" wrote one commenter.
Several commenters indicated they did not watch the parade this year because of the wedding, while others chided them for missing the entire festival over an event that was only given a few minutes of air time.
Actress Marilyn Monrovia, who watched the parade from the grandstand at Colorado and Orange Grove, expressed mixed feelings about the ceremony.
"I said that I was against that. I think that I love children so much and I think marriage should be between men and women. But I don't fight against people who want to do that... Those two men looked very, very happy and they were free to do what they wanted to do," Monrovia said.