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NYC Pride Parade Marshals to Include Same-Sex Marriage Champion

By Andrea Swalec | March 25, 2013 1:57pm

NEW YORK CITY — This year's Pride Parade will be led by the 83-year-old New Yorker at the forefront of the national gay marriage debate.

Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit organization that organizes events for the weeklong NYC Pride each June, announced Monday morning that Edith Windsor, whose challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act will be heard by the Supreme Court this week, has been selected as a grand marshal of the 44th annual Pride March that will be held this year on June 30.

Windsor will be joined by singer and civil-rights activist Harry Belafonte, as well as Earl Fowlkes, the president and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, which advocates for the black LGBT community.

The marshals chosen for 2013 are symbols of a "historic" year for LGBT rights, NYC Pride managing director Chris Frederick said.

"They are the great waves in a sea of hope: Edith's never-ending battle for marriage equality, Harry's unending fight for human rights, Earl’s focused leadership and selfless spirit," he said in a statement.

NYC Pride will bring a week of parties to Manhattan starting Monday, June 24, and running through Sunday, June 30. The festivities will include a VIP rooftop party, a lesbian dance party and a street fair, among others.

Attorneys for Windsor are set to challenge the legality of DOMA in arguments Wednesday morning. Windsor paid $363,000 in estate taxes when her female partner died in 2009 because the federal government did not recognize her marriage as valid, though it was acknowledged in New York state.