Even a downpour couldn't stop the Gay Pride March down Fifth Avenue yesterday, which attracted half a million participants and an estimated million spectators. Besides the costumed performers, motorcyclists, bands and floats, elected officials were part of the parade. Along with Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Governor David Paterson marched and spoke out on behalf of gay rights.

Paterson, who has been very supportive of gay rights, was welcomed like a hero--he's the first head of state to march in the parade--and Quinn praised Paterson's order to have all state agencies recognize same-sex marriages from out of state. She said, "When Governor Paterson says he's a friend to the LGBT community, he means it... What he did... sends a message that leadership isn't about waiting. It's about finding the opportunity. It's about finding the way to move progress and civil rights forward" Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell told the NY Times, "The gay community has relied on our straight icons like Judy and Bette. And I think David could be one of our icons.

The parade's two grand marshals were Gilbert Baker, who created the Rainbow Flag in 1978, and Candis Cayne, the transsexual actress who recently had a role on Dirty Sexy Money. Cayne told NY1, "Everyday I feel when someone comes up to me and says 'You've changed my family. You made people understand a little bit more of our community,' which means a lot to me."