- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - As they have for years, Ponda Moody and Kim Spencer traveled to Lexington on the last Saturday in June for the annual Lexington Pride festival celebrating gay rights.

But this year, they had to make a stop first.

The couple that lives in Mount Sterling stopped in Winchester to pick up their marriage license, one day after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in Kentucky and across the country in a historic ruling. They were among the thousands who attended the 8th annual Lexington Pride festival on Saturday, an event that has been on the calendar for months but had a special significance for many on this day.

“Oh my God, today was awesome. I mean, today is historic,” Moody said while wearing a T-shirt depicting the Star Trek Enterprise leaving a trail of rainbows (“I got it at Target,” she added.)

Chad Hundley, chairman of the Lexington Pride festival, said organizers expected to have about 20,000 people attend the daylong event. But given the Supreme Court’s ruling, he expected the festival could attract as many as 24,000 people.

“I mean they are going to come out in droves regardless but it is even more of a celebration,” he said.

The mood was joyful as thousands milled around vendors, some twirling rainbow umbrellas and wearing homemade T-shirts that said “I’m his” and “he’s mine.” Vendors sold designer men’s underwear and Christmas ornaments of mermaids and mermen, some draped in rainbow flags. And people were lining up to have their picture taken with various cardboard cutouts, including two brides, two grooms and a depiction of Jesus with a sign that read: “Yes, you can be gay and Christian.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who is gay, kicked off the festival as he usually does by reading a proclamation from the city.

“At the beginning, it says ‘pride day.’ But if I had a pen right now, I would change it and I would add to it one word before it: ‘historic pride day,’ he said to cheers from the crowd.

June is widely recognized as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride month. Many cities hold pride festivals and events near the end of June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1969, named after New York’s Stonewall Inn that became a focal point for gay rights after a police raid prompted several days of demonstrations.

Moody and Spencer have been together for 15 years, but they never had an official anniversary date.

“So we always used (the Pride festival) as our wedding anniversary,” Moody said, fighting back tears as she hugged Spencer.

“She said she wouldn’t marry me until it is legal in the state we live in,” Spencer added.

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