By City News Service
The 2013 Rose Parade was the first to feature a couple getting married on a float during the procession, but the AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced Tuesday it will sponsor the first same-sex union aboard a float in next month's parade.
AHF officials said the wedding aligns perfectly with the parade's theme of "Dreams Come True."
Danny Leclair and Aubrey Loots, of Los Angeles, will exchange vows aboard the AHF float on Jan. 1. The ceremony will also serve to spread the organization's message that "Love is the Best Protection," contending that marriage plays a role in reducing HIV infections among gay men.
Loots, 42, and Leclair, 45, own Studio DNA Salons, a three-outlet chain of hair salons in the Los Angeles area. Loots is originally from South Africa, while Leclair is from Canada, according to AHF.
"Having my relationship recognized legally is already a dream come true," Leclair said. "To be able to declare my love to the world at large in hopes of inspiring others to live proudly and authentically is an enormous honor."
AHF officials said the couple will be joined on the float by Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer, a lesbian couple who have been together for 42 years and were married in California in 2008.
"Today, as wedding bells ring for more and more gay and lesbian Americans like Aubrey and Danny and Mina and Sharon, AIDS Healthcare Foundation's 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade float is proud to honor and celebrate those 'Living the Dream,' confident in the knowledge that love is indeed the best protection," AHF President Michael Weinstein said.
During the 2013 parade, a couple from Virginia -- Nicole and Gerald -- were married aboard Farmers Insurance's "The Love Float," in what Farmer's officials said was the first wedding to be performed during the Rose Parade. The couple won a nationwide contest to have their wedding aboard the float.