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Chris Kluwe named Twin Cities PRIDE Grand Marshal

As Grand Marshal, Kluwe will lead the parade in June.
As Grand Marshal, Kluwe will lead the parade in June.
Photos: Left, JON BEHM; Right, TONY NELSON.

Over the past eight months, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has emerged as one of the loudest advocates for gay rights in America, so it's perhaps fitting that he will be at the head of the Twin Cities PRIDE parade this summer.

Citing Kluwe's sharp tongue and aggressive position as a straight ally, PRIDE announced Wednesday that Kluwe has been named Grand Marshal of this year's festival. He'll be recognized at a reception, along with other local award winners, on June 21 at Aloft Minneapolis. On June 30, he'll judge the PRIDE float contest and lead the parade. Kluwe will also use the occasion to release his book, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies.

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"It has been incredibly inspiring to see Chris take such a solid and outspoken stance for gay marriage and GLBT support," says Twin Cities PRIDE Executive Director Dot Belstler, in a statement. "His voice has provided hope, encouragement and excitement to a huge population of supporters in our community, and it is my honor to have him as a part of our celebration."

Choosing the PRIDE Grand Marshal is a lengthy process, says spokesman Ryan McEnanry. Candidates first have to be nominated through a formal letter, and the PRIDE board narrows the field and ultimately selects winner.

"He has opened such incredible doors on a huge level," says McEnanry. "He's very, very connected in the state, and has voiced his opinion a lot, and has raised a lot of awareness.

Kluwe also recorded a short video for the organization's "I Have PRIDE" campaign:


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