Couple Raises Equality Flag on Space Needle

by ELaine M. Thompson
Monday Jul 1, 2013

SEATTLE - The two women who were the first same-sex couple to be granted a marriage license in Washington State were grand marshals for the annual Seattle Pride Parade on Sunday.

A group of Boy Scouts carrying American flags were the first marchers in the parade, attracting cheers and sustained applause. One of the adults marching with about a dozen scouts, David O. McGrath of Ammon, Idaho, said they decided to participate after being told by their scouting council they were not allowed to march.

About 200 groups, ranging from "Dykes on Bikes" to a Seattle Police Department car with "just married" painted on the rear window, participated in the parade, with thousands lining the parade route on a warm, sunny Seattle day.

Seattle Police Officer Bob Peth was driving and his husband, Aaron Fletcher, was in the passenger seat. They were married Dec. 9, the first day of legal gay weddings in Washington State.

There were many references to gay marriage, including several couples in tuxes or wedding gowns, along with a woman who was parading inside a giant, hoop-style wedding gown float, which was at least 15-feet high. Shaun Knittle and Yee-Shin Huang, wearing "Just Married" T-shirts, kissed as they walked down the middle of the street.

West Seattle couple Jane Abbot Lighty and Pete-e Petersen helped lead the parade and also stood on the Space Needle on Sunday morning to raise a giant marriage equality flag above the Seattle icon. The flag featuring a red equal sign made its first appearance atop the Space Needle.

Lighty and Petersen threw kisses to the crowd from the red convertible they rode in.

Veterans for Peace carried signs saying "Free Bradley Manning." Librarians performed a synchronized routine with book carts. Employee organizations from a variety of corporations participated, including Starbucks, Google, Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, Group Health, Fred Meyer, Macy's, Verizon and Delta Airlines

Across town, the Seattle Mariners flew the rainbow flag during their game Sunday against the Chicago Cubs.

A group called Seattle Out & Proud says the Mariners will be the first Major League Baseball team to publicly fly the gay pride flag. But Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale says she cannot confirm that Seattle is first.

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