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Jun 26, 2015 5:21 PM

SCOTUS decision comes day before Portsmouth Pride parade


PORTSMOUTH - The Port City will host its first ever Pride Parade one day after a Supreme Court decision ruled same-sex marriage a constitutional right in all 50 states.

“If you look at gay rights, and equal rights – all that gay people want is not special rights ... they just want to be treated equally," said Todd McCain, who identified himself as gay and a visitor to Portsmouth from North Carolina.

As those rights were affirmed following the Supreme Court of the United States decision, NH residents spoke out on their respect for the long-awaited decision.

“Knowing that it’s nationally recognized makes it feel like you’re not different," said Douglas Palardy.

Palardy, who is openly gay and co-owns The Hotel Portsmouth with his husband Dan Innis, said he supports the decision.

However, it doesn't change much in his mind. Palardy said he always defined marriage from what he found in his heart and mind - not what he saw on a piece of paper.

“I think people are definitely realizing that this is the way it’s going," Palardy said. "And it’s not a minority issue anymore – it’s much broader than that.”

Public servants expressed their positive reaction as well.

Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine, who has been openly gay while serving in government for decades, said that while today is a milestone - it's only the beginning in a long-term push for equality.

“We still have a lot to do," Splaine said. "In about half of the states in this country you can still be fired just for being gay.”

Splaine was the sponsor of state legislation in 2009 that made New Hampshire the fifth state to allow same-sex marriage. He said that although he was hopeful, he was unsure if today would ever come.

“I thought it would come sometime. I am surprised it happened so soon," Splaine said. "And I think that’s just the power of the American people realizing that justice for all is a meaningful concept.”

It's a concept that comes as the City of Portsmouth hosts its first ever parade near Market Square in the downtown area.

“For the community to show that they care, and for us to celebrate pride," said Seacoast Outright Board Chair Chuck Rhoades. "This is a first for Portsmouth, it’s a first for Seacoast Outright and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Groups will be dressed in each color of the rainbow flag and will come from different directions to the downtown area, before joining together for a large rally that will support conversation and action for the LGBT community.

The parade will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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