Drug Law

Who Knew? Chicago Gay Pride Parade Promotes Drunkenness

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

St. Patrick's Day parades are notorious for drunken revelers, but gay pride parades? Yes, it turns out that in Chicago, at least, there is way too much drinking going on. So officials are changing the parade in an effort to curb public drunkenness.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that some 800,000 people attended the parade this past June, many of them boozing it up.

"There’s people concerned about alcohol being consumed on that day. Complaints are that people actually bring their coolers and consume a lot," said Tom Tunney, Chicago’s first openly-gay alderman.

So several changes are being made, the most noticewhable is that the parade will now start at 10am instead of noon.

“Unless you’re a hard-core drinker, most people don’t drink at 10 o’clock in the morning,” said parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer.

"An earlier start time will promote less drinking," echoed Tunney.

The parade will also somehow be lengthened and shortened at the same time. Reducing the number of entries from 250 to 200 will make it shorter, and making the route five blocks longer will make the parade longer but also stagger the crowd.

The parade has grown increasingly popular recently, with attendance doubling over the past three years.

“Everybody has a best friend or a relative or someone they work with in the next cubicle who’s gay. That’s part of the increase in the crowd. To accommodate that increase, we needed to make changes to help make it a safer event,” Pfeiffer said.