Big turnout for 2016 Boise Pridefest

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-18 20:27:19-04

Thousands of people in the Treasure Valley flocked to the statehouse steps Saturday to celebrate Gay Pride Month.

Boise Mayor David Bieter addressed the crowd as the first mayor to ever speak at the event. He mentioned how far the country has come when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights but said there is still a long way to go.

One of the first things mentioned when the rally kicked off was that appropriate security measures were in place. This after concerns stemming from  last week's mass shooting at a gay Orlando night club.

Despite recent events, the pride festival still attracted a huge crowd with many stopping to sign well wishes for victims and survivors in Orlando.

Mayor Bieter also said: "This is the civil rights movement of our generation. We will win if we work together."

The entire day's festivities started out with a more serious tone. It was along the Capitol steps it was said that part of Boise Pridefest this year was to acknowledge and honor those who died in the horrific Orlando mass shooting. At the same time, they did not want it to take away from accomplishments thus far for the LGBT community.

It was also a chance to celebrate how far they've come.

"We just all need to come together as a community and unite and move forward," said Troy Sherrill, 2016 Mr. Gay Idaho.

Mr. and Miss Gay Idaho were happy to be a part of the parade. Their message for the public was to treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Miss Gay Idaho refuses to live life in fear.

"You have to keep moving forward and live your life the best you can," said Andrea Morgan, 2016 Miss Gay Idaho. "But, this is a special day for a lot of people and we have a lot of allies who are heterosexual that is part of our community as well."

Following the rally on the Capitol steps and the parade, 2016's Boise Pridefest continued at Capitol Park with a festival.

One of the booths at the festival was set up for the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

They're using last weekend's mass shooting as an example of why they think laws in America need to change at the federal level.

"I think the thing we learned from this most recent shooting is that we should not let suspected terrorists buy guns," said Hannah Sharp, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Idaho chapter leader.

People signed cards for Orlando victims' families and signed up to receive alerts from the group.

Sharp urges citizens get involved in the political process.

"I think the American people have seen enough mass murders and we're tired of it," Sharp said. "We're tired of losing our friends, our family and our loved ones to mass shootings."

On Monday night, the U.S. Senate will vote on a bill that would ban guns from being sold to suspected terrorists. It also calls for universal background checks on all types of gun sales.

If you have similar concerns, you can always contact your representatives to let them know how you feel.