Vandals slash tires of 51 gay pride parade floats in Chicago

By Kase Wickman
Sunday, June 26, 2011 17:13 EDT
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This year, Pride Weekend — celebrated by the LGBT community on the last Sunday in June, as usual — has been extra-festive, owing to New York’s passage of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. In Chicago, however, vandals tried to dampen the weekend’s celebrations by slashing the tires of 51 floats bound for the city’s Pride parade.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that vandals Saturday night broke into the storage facility of Associated Attractions, a company that helps design, create and store floats.

“I firmly believe it was a hate crime,” Associated Attractions manager Chuck Huser told the paper. “We’ve been supplying floats for all the city parades for more than 30 years and this had never happened before — it’s a terrible crime against us, and the gay community.”

The police are currently investigating the tire slashings as property damage, which Huser said exceeds $20,000. All but four of the floats were repaired Sunday morning, though they missed the parade’s official start time.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, whose float’s tires were slashed, also viewed the vandalization as a hate crime, a reflection on New York’s new legislation. Though it was unclear whether her float would be repaired in time for the parade, she was in high spirits.

“The first parade had no floats,” Cassidy told the Sun-Times. “We don’t need floats to have a great parade. The Grinch can’t steal the Pride parade.”

Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
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