In a ringing celebration, tens of thousands lined Boston's streets for today's annual Gay Pride parade, a festive march that featured Governor Deval Patrick and his 18-year-old daughter Katherine, who this week announced she is a lesbian.
The Patrick family, including First Lady Diane Patrick, drew resounding applause as they marched along Beacon Street past the State House to City Hall.
Patrick, who already enjoyed strong support among gays and lesbians for his strong support for gay marriage, has been hailed as a model of parental acceptance for his unconditional support for his daughter.
In a recent interview with Bay Windows, New England's leading newspaper for the region's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, Katherine Patrick recounted her parents' understanding and encouraging reaction when she told them last summer about her sexual orientation.
Many parade-goers said they were touched by Katherine Patrick's courage in coming out and by her parents' unreserved acceptance of his daughter's revelation, which they said lent a personal resonance to Patrick's fight a year ago to keep gay marriage legal.
"It proves he not only stands for something publicly, he exemplifies it in his own life," said Lexi LaGuerre, a 30-year-old from Boston who watched the parade on Tremont Street in the South End with her grandmother. "I wouldn't say most parents would react this way, so it's a wonderful thing. Nobody wants their parents not to love them."
"It's fabulous," agreed Wanic Polynice, 35, watching the parade arm-in-arm with his boyfriend, Sebastian Doremus. "It's wonderful to see a father love his daughter like that. It's beautiful."
But others said that increasing societal acceptance of gay and lesbians made the Patricks' compassion, while welcome, somewhat predictable.
"I'm surprised that in 2008, it even matters," said Michael Stuber, 36, of Boston, as he held his 14-month-old son.
"Yesterday's news," agreed Cheilane Platt, 35, of Boston.