Gay Pride Parade Returning to Huntington

A gay pride parade and festival will return to Huntington in June, six years after the event moved to Long Beach.

Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth said that the parade on June 11 would march along Gerard Street to Main Street to Heckscher Park where the festival will be held. The Town Board is expected to take up a resolution to approve the festival at its next meeting on May 9.

“Welcome home to Huntington. It’s a big town and a diverse community and we welcome everybody,” he said.

The parade is one of at least two events scheduled in town in June: Northport organizers are arranging that village’s first pride festival on June 17.

David Kilmnick, president of the LBGT Network, and a leader in the early days of the fight for a  parade, said, “Wer’re excited to come back home. Huntington is the birthplace of Long Island Pride and quite frankly, it’s where it belongs. Huntington has  always provided the greatest sense of community for Long Island Pride, and it’s special because that’s where we started.”

That history with Huntington includes organizers winning a 1991 federal court case allowing the paradewhen the town initially resisted issuing a permit. Before settling the case, the town said it supported only  three “traditional”parades – St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day and Columbus Day. But the New York Civil Liberties Union argued that the group’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly as guaranteed by the Constitution trumped the town’s preferences.

“Our theme is, Our Home, Our Island and Our Pride,” Kilmnick said. “We’re not going anywhere. Sometimes you have to move away to come back. We always knew we were coming back.”

The festival in Heckscher Park will include music, food, a pavilion for families, and a beer and wine garden.

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