A buddy of mine called me and said, “Let’s go to the Thai parade Sunday.” I thought, “Oh cool! A Thai parade. There will be Thai dancers in exotic costumes, interesting music and food. Count me in!”

Except that my sense of hearing must be getting dull with age. He said “gay pride parade,” not “Thai parade.” So this is how I ended up at Portland’s gay pride parade, just as a spectator mind you.

Practically every corporation known to man had a presence at the parade. All sorts of banks, retail chains, schools and private organizations were represented. The mayor and his wife were there – along with tens of thousands of people, all cheering for love, tolerance, inclusion and gays.

Can an abomination and a denomination coexist? See for yourself:

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Here’s the mayor and his wife:

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There was no dissent. Nobody dared question the gay lifestyle, or the appropriateness of declaring one’s pride in what, arguably, should be a private matter. As men in leather had mock sex in the street, thousands of Portlanders cheered them on.

So it struck me as rather odd that a prevailing theme in the parade was that gays are persecuted. That they are marginalized in today’s society. Many wore buttons and t-shirts that said “legalize gay.” Seriously?

A young man approached me to sign a petition. He was outraged that, in some states, it’s legal to fire somebody for being homosexual. I told him it should be legal. That a private company should be allowed to hire, or fire, people as it sees fit and for any reason. That discrimination is perfectly acceptable. I told him that consumers would punish companies that made bad hiring decisions. I definitely got him thinking; he looked confused after that encounter.

Noticeably absent from the parade were Muslim groups of any kind. I didn’t see anybody holding signs that read “Allah loves gays too” or “Shiites for marriage equality.” Hmm… Must have been an oversight.