Rainbow flags and entertainment greeted people attending Gay Pride festivals and parades in Ohio Saturday. But revelers attending Gay Pride in Cleveland and Columbus, the state's most populous cities, concentrated on the party, and mostly forgot the politics.

In Columbus, the party was moved to Goodale Park this year. Hundreds of people cheered on as the colorful parade wound its way from the Statehouse to the festival grounds in the heart of the city's gay neighborhood.

Cleveland's Gay Pride parade streamed down East Ninth Street past the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to dock at Voinovich Park.

Both festivals celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, often considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement. But if the festival's purpose was political, the message was lost on most who attended.

In a corner of Columbus' festival, members of Equality Ohio manned a small booth. People who approached the booth were asked to sign a petition for passage of Representative Dan Stewart's Equal Housing and Employment Act, a bill that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the areas of housing and employment. (The bill won the approval of the State Government Committee on May 17, but has not reached the Assembly floor for a vote.)

Two booths down, Ohio ACLU was building a list for the bill too.

But neither organization was asking people to get involved, or providing information on the bill. A woman at the Equality Ohio booth said the names would be given to lawmakers considering the bill.

Peter Caborn, deputy director of Equality Ohio, told On Top Magazine that the group was committed to passage of EHEA but agreed gay activism in Ohio was lethargic.

In Cleveland, city leaders who supported a domestic partnership registry were greeted warmly.

“This is the human-rights battle of our generation,” Councilman Joe Cimperman, who sponsored the ordinance, told the crowd. “We still have more road ahead of us than behind us.”

Indeed, Ohio voters approved one of the toughest gay marriage bans in the country five years ago. And Cleveland's domestic partner registry grants gay and lesbian couples no guaranteed benefits whatsoever, yet it has come under intense fire, mostly by a group of black ministers who have vowed to repeal the measure.

A strong lineup of entertainment in Columbus kept the party rocking till dusk. After-pride parties at bars and restaurants along High Street soaked in tired revelers.