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San Francisco, other cities celebrate gay pride in Orlando's shadow

Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York.

A streak of luminous rainbow colors greeted revelers at the 2016 San Francisco gay pride parade, with the celebration tempered by sober reminders of the massacre in an Orlando nightclub that left about 50 people dead and scores wounded.

Gay pride celebrations across the U.S. on Sunday included cities such as New York a Chicago, where a heightened police presence was notable. In San Francisco, hundreds of uniformed officers lined the streets in an effort to safeguard the area from potential threats.


Both uniformed and plain clothed officers were on site to monitor this year's parade as well as other Pride activities throughout the city. Organizers of the parade put in place security measures that included metal detectors at all points of entry and limiting the size of bags brought by attendees.

Mourners gather under an LGBT pride flag in San Diego, California, during a candlelight vigil in remembrance for mass shooting victims in Orlando, June 12, 2016.
Mike Blake | Reuters
Mourners gather under an LGBT pride flag in San Diego, California, during a candlelight vigil in remembrance for mass shooting victims in Orlando, June 12, 2016.

It's been exactly two weeks since a gunman opened fire at Pulse, a Orlando night club where gunman Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 people before being killed by police. The scene became the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.

Earlier this month at the World Wide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook opened the even with a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Orlando shooting, which he called an "unconscionable act of terrorism." Cook is one of the few openly gay CEOs of a Fortune 500 company.

"We must remain strong and vigilant in the face of such hatred." said the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade and Celebration committee in a statement. "We are unbowed and unbroken by this attack, and will continue on in the memory of those who lost their lives for simply expressing their true selves."

At Sunday's festivities in San Francisco, Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Airbnb and Salesforce had a strong showing. Adobe had 450 employees in attendance, while Facebook had contingents in San Francisco as 15 additional cities.

Absolut Vodka shows support of the LGBT community
Source: Absolut
Absolut Vodka shows support of the LGBT community

The two-day celebration has come a long way from its humble beginnings in June of 1972. When it first launched, the parade could barely fill up the confines of Market Street

Yet on Sunday, the parade drew an estimated about 1 million attendees over the course of two days.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis said that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them.

In an hour-long conversation with reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, Francis was asked if he agreed with recent comments by a German Roman Catholic cardinal that the Church should apologize to gays.

--Reuters contributed to this article.