Liza Minnelli made a surprise
appearance at Paris' Gay Pride parade on Saturday, Euronews reported.
The gay icon captivated the crowd as
she rolled past atop a colorful float. “Freedom,” she cried, and
danced for revelers.
Saturday's gay parade celebrated the
40th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, often
considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement. On June 28,
1969 patrons of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York
blocked a police raid on the bar. For five days thousands joined in
protest against the police who frequently raided gay bars.
Minnelli, who was in Paris for a
concert, made the decision to attend at the last moment.
“We knew she had a concert this
evening in Paris but when her agent told us that she could come, we
thought it was a joke,” Philippe Castel, a spokesman for event,
told the AFP.
“It's really an honor and a great
pleasure to have her with us, she's an icon,” he said. “This
will bring greater visibility to our fight.”
While France's politics lean liberal,
marriage and adoption rights remain out of reach for gay and lesbian
Lawmakers approved civil unions for gay
couples in 1999, despite polling that indicated a near majority of
voters (49%) approved of gay marriage. By 2008, approval had soared
to sixty-two percent.
Paris' openly gay mayor, Bertrand
Delanoe, was also on hand to greet revelers. Delanoe heads one of
the world's largest cities.