On the 10th anniversary of the murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard and a few weeks before Floridians vote on an amendment to restrict gay rights, Orlando’s “Come Out With Pride” event Sunday was as much about self-preservation as pride.

Emotional pleas from the parents of slain gay men were followed by emotional pleas from political activists to defeat Amendment 2, which would put a ban against gay marriage into the Florida Constitution. Opponents say it would also jeopardize domestic-partner benefits for unmarried couples.

“I don’t want to beat it by 40 percent. I want to show the majority of Floridians are against the discrimination that Amendment 2 represents,” said state Rep. Scott Randolph.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also voiced his opposition to Amendment 2, which requires 60 percent of the vote to win.

“It’s two weeks and two days before the election. We need to work hard to defeat Amendment 2,” said Dyer, who was a week off in his countdown to the Nov. 4 general election.

Dyer, the only Orlando mayor to accept an invitation to speak at the annual event, which began in 1991, was earlier applauded by the crowd at Lake Eola Park for the city’s recent passage of domestic-partner benefits for gay city employees.

Read the full story from the Orlando Sentinel.