MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis hosts one of the largest Pride weekends in the nation, and roughly a half million people from around the country are expected to celebrate in the Twin Cities this weekend.

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For the first time, this year’s festival in Loring Park includes wedding vendors, and there’s talk of holding weddings on site next year.

The most popular event is the Pride Parade down Hennepin Avenue, with a record 300,000 attendees expected.

Former Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe is this year’s grand marshal.

He told WCCO that as an athlete, he’s a role model. But in recent months, he has become an outspoken GLBT activist just by speaking out on what he thinks is right.

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“To me, it gets down to the society I want to live in is one where people are free to live their own life. In order for me to be free to live my life, other people have to be free to live their lives,” Kluwe said.

He thinks the country is starting to turn the corner on this human rights issue.

Kluwe says he’s glad the Supreme Court struck down California’s law banning same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act, giving same-sex couples federal rights in states where the unions are legal.

But Kluwe says he wishes the justices would have made a more sweeping decision to bring equality to all states.

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The Twin Cities Pride Parade begins Sunday morning at 11 a.m.