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UTAH GAYS, LESBIANS CELEBRATE PRIDE DAY

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Organizers said Sunday's celebration of Gay & Lesbian Pride Day was meant to be both a friendly and political gathering.

Antonia de la Guerra said participants could "have a good time, enjoy what freedoms we have, show our numbers and strength, and display our unity and diversity.""Pride Equals Power" was the theme of the gathering, the first since the gay and lesbian communities figured prominently in Utah's political power struggles.

They fought hard in the Legislature for a bill that would penalize perpetrators of "hate crimes" but lost out when references to sexual orientation were omitted.

Then the Gay & Lesbian Utah Democrats succeeded in getting a plank recognizing homosexual rights into the Salt Lake County Democratic Party platform. But it was diluted at the state Democratic Party Convention.

"As more people come out of the closet and more people realize they have loved ones who are gay, they become more accepting - if their religion permits it," de la Guerra said. "Some people still do not want to acknowledge we need a hate-crimes bill, and people believe we don't deserve the rights of other people."