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Thousands to rally in London in support of gay marriage

PRIDE: A gay rights march held in central London, pictured above, similar to the one being organised for today. Credit: Andy Butterton/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Largecrowds are expected in central London today to support the cause of same-sexmarriage.

Organisersfrom the gay and lesbian community hope it will be the biggest same-sex rally everheld in the UK.

COLOURFUL: A gay pride march, similar to the one above, will be held in central London today. Credit: Andy Butterton/PA Archive/Press Association Images

9,000 people are expected to turn out.

150 gay and lesbian support groups from all over the UK will be parading through central London.

The parade route runs from Baker Street, along Oxford Street and Regent Street and ending at Trafalgar Square.

London Pride 2013

London's Pride Festival opens today with an exclusive interview with tennis legend Martina Navratilova. The event will be hosted by renowned sports commentator, Claire Balding in front of a select audience at St James Theatre in London.

Participants at London Pride. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

Pride in London will run until Thursday 18th July and will include cabaret acts, parties, talks, photography workshops and much more. The famous London Pride Parade will take place next Saturday, starting in Oxford Street at 1pm and finishing at Whitehall several hours later.

Participants at London Pride. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

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Success at Gay Pride

Despite fears that Pride London, which also incorporates World Pride 2012, would be cancelled due to funding problems, it has been a huge success.

Gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who helped organise the first Gay Pride in Britain in 1972, said that despite the problems and setbacks, the numbers at today's events were huge and the atmosphere amazing.

It's much more political than in previous years. The global human rights message is really strong for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender freedom.

Nearly 80 countries still criminalise homosexuality with the penalties ranging from life imprisonment and even execution.

We are also celebrating 40 years of Gay Pride in Britain. In those last four decades we have won the appeal of nearly every anti-gay law. All that remains is to win same sex marriage."

– Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

Prime Minister David Cameron has also added his support for the event.

The UK has been judged to be the best country in Europe in which to live if you're gay so it is great that World Pride is being celebrated here in London - especially during this Diamond Jubilee and Olympic year.

I'm very pleased that the Mayor of London has enabled the march and events in Trafalgar Square to go ahead and I want to thank all the volunteers who will be stewarding the event and contributing to it.

It is 40 years since people first marched in London calling for equal rights. Since then we've come a very long way and progress is still being made."

– Prime Minister David Cameron

Gay pride gets underway in Westminster

Gay pride gets underway in Westminster Credit: ITV News

A scaled back version of Gay Pride is underway in Westminster.There had been fears that Pride London, which also incorporates World Pride 2012, would be cancelled due to funding problems.

I'ts kicked off without a hitch, with a walking procession from Baker Street to Whitehall. But there will be no floats or other vehicles involved.

This will be followed celebrations in Trafalgar Square until 6pm.

Soho is expected to be busy throughout the day.

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