Gay Pride Parade NYC 2012: 10 Photos Show Why This Was the LGBT Party of the Year

On Sunday, New York City celebrated the Gay Pride Parade, an annual event which combines a rare mix of serious political action with pure rainbow happiness.

Held 42 years after the first gay pride march in 1970, this year's parade took on special signficance, as participants had much to celebrate: One year ago today, Governor Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act into law, legalizing gay marriage in the state of New York. In September, the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was repealed, allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. In May, President Barack Obama became the first president to openly state that he believes that gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry.

Participants marched, danced, and strutted their way down Manhattan's 5th avenue, from 39th street to Christopher street in the West Village. The march concluded at the site of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a watershed moment in LGBT history that ignited the Pride movement. The parade featured a constant flow of floats and marching groups (325 in all, all bedecked in rainbow colors).

Groups ranging from Google and the Gay Peruvians of the Americas to the Pride Troopers (that’s right, rainbow-colored Storm Troopers), passed out stickers, Mardi Gras beads, condoms, and rainbow wristbands.

In case you missed it, here are the 10 pictures from Sunday's parade: