Bangor Shows its Pride with Parade and Festival Downtown 

Gay pride was on parade in Bangor on Saturday, making some noise and showing its colors marching through downtown.”Today is about being who you are, loving yourself, expressing yourself and just letting people know that this is who I am,” said Mark Bridges, who organized the festival along with his organization called The Bridge Alliance.The annual event is all about spreading that message of being proud of who you are. But this year another message was in the forefront on signs, t-shirts and in conversations: a call for Mainers to vote ‘yes’ for same-sex marriage.”Our goal here today is to talk to more people who are our supporters and to get them involved in this important work of just engaging Mainers in conversations about why marriage matters to same sex couples,” said Ali Vander Zanden, Coalition Director at Mainers United for Marriage.In November, a statewide referendum will decide whether or not Maine will allow same sex couples to marry. Mainers United for Marriage says they believe 55% of the state is on their side.”We deserve the same things that everyone else deserves. No more, no less,” said Rich Dunham of Portland, who travelled to Bangor to attend the festival.For a group that sometimes faces discrimination, the pride festival is a chance for the LGBT community to be surrounded by people who support them.”We are part of the community, we are families, we are single people, we are gay, we are straight. That’s what the pride festival is about is that we are our neighbors and our friends and our families,” said Rabbi Darah Lerner of the Relgious Coalition Against Discrimination.Those working for the campaign and in support of the campaign hope the enthusiasm from events like this will continue through November, so that there might be even more to celebrate during next year’s pride festival.