On the day thousands gathered for Seattle's Gay Pride Parade, the marriage equality flag was flying atop the Space Needle for the first time, and the Seattle Mariners became the first major professional team to fly the pride flag.

On Sunday morning Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and other officials took part in raising the flag atop the Space Needle.

In its 39 years, Seattle s Gay Pride Parade has always had a festive atmosphere. Sunday s event, participants said, was one supplemented by victory in light of recent rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The other day, we were both on the verge of tears all day long, said Tim Clements, who attended the parade with his husband Aaron Levin.

Clements and Levin married years ago in Canada, but it wasn t until April when they could legally wed in Washington. Both agreed the last twelve months have seen sweeping change for same-sex marriage rights.

Celebrate for a while, Clements said. Take a breath. This is a celebratory Pride Parade this year, not an accusatory one.

Many participants commented on the changes for gay rights and in the parade as well. Large companies now have floats in the event. Rather than being focused on defiance, some said, the parade is now one of victory.

The younger ones coming up, said marcher Arlene Havlark, Someday they ll say, what s the big deal? They won t even know.

On Sunday Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy denied a last-ditch request from the sponsors of California's now-overturned gay marriage ban to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the nation's most populous state.

Kennedy turned away the appeal with no additional comment as the 43rd annual pride parade was getting underway in San Francisco, where dozens of couples have gotten married since Friday and where the clerk's office remained open to issue more licenses on Sunday.

Same-sex marriage opponents asked Kennedy to step in on Saturday, a day after the federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed same-sex marriages to go forward by lifting a hold it had imposed on such unions while a lawsuit challenging the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage made its way to and through the high court.

The Supreme Court cleared the way for the marriages to resume for the first time in 4 1/2 years when it ruled Wednesday that Proposition 8's backers lacked standing to defend the 2008 law once California's governor and attorney general refused to do so.

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