Wed Sep 17 00:51:14 PDT 2014
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Hundreds Gather for Third Annual Pride Festival
Loren Thomas

September 13, 2014 Lee Park in Charlottesville was covered in rainbows and banners all promoting equality and gay rights in Virginia. “It's really a special day for people to have that experience with just being comfortable with who they are,” says Amy-Sarah Marshall, president of the Charlottesville Pride Network. As Marshall explained, that’s what Pride is all about. Several local businesses and vendors joined in on the festivities, showing their support for the LGBT community. “I'm a member of the LGBT community and I've been out since I was 16 years old,” says Sheri Edgecomb, owner of Edgecomb’s Imported Auto in Charlottesville. “So I've been in Charlottesville and experiencing what it's like to be a part of this community for a long time and it has just gotten better and better and right now I think we are just in a really great place.” Also in attendance was Thrive Health Care, who continues to provide support for people living with HIV. “Gay men, bisexual men, men who have sex with men are still at the highest risk for HIV and in general the LGBT community has tremendous health disparities even in a community like Charlottesville,” says Peter DeMartino, CEO of Thrive Health Care. “Talking about equality, equality of healthcare is really our goal.” Attorney General Mark Herring, who has been fighting for marriage equality in Virginia, kicked off the festival and spoke about the same-sex marriage ban possibly going before the Supreme Court. “The Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia cases are all before the Supreme Court,” says Herring. “If Virginia's case is the one, I don't know if it will be, but if it is we will be there fighting for the rights of thousands and thousands of Virginians and other folks across the nation.” This is the third year for the Charlottesville festival and as organizers said, it's all about showing Pride in who you are.

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