By TIM HERRERA
The 43rd annual LGBT Pride March is filled with firsts.
Besides being the the first parade since state enacted same-sex marriage last July, this year's celebration will also have something it's never had before: active servicemen and women marching without fear of retribution for being out, said Ada Ospina, co-chair of Heritage of Pride, which organizes the yearly event.
"For us, with marriage equality now being enacted, we couldn't be more excited to be able to honor that huge step," Ospina said. "This is also the first year we'll have active military in the march and on our float, so we're making those two things huge priorities this year."
Two of the grand marshals for the parade are Phyllis Siegel and Connie Kopelov, who were the first same-sex couple married in New York City. Having those two, Ospina said, "truly recognizes the symbolism marriage equality."
Officials with the march are expecting at least the same turnout as least year - 1.7 million marchers and observers - and more than 300 groups have registered to walk, which is more than last year.
Lynn Faria, interim executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage legislation will be a huge focus Sunday, and that she expected the mood to be "electrifying."
"This year, we're marking a year since the law has passed. We've seen thousands of loving, committing couples get married all across the state, and I think you're going to see a lot of love," Faria said. "You're going to see a lot of these gay and lesbian newlyweds taking part in the parade, including my wife and I."
Nathan Noyes, 21, of Red Hook, will march for the first time this year, and said the event is further "validation of marriage equality."
"Last year was just crazy, the energy was just more than anything I could've imagined," he said, "and I think that will be back."
He added: "The march really is just a great place to be with a bunch of people who believe in he same thing you and understand what you went through. It's nice to be a part of something that's so positive."
If you go: Here's the scoop on this year's NYC Pride March:
When: Sunday at noon
Where: The march starts in midtown at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street, and ends in the West Village at Christopher and Greenwich streets. Catch it on Fifth Avenue, before it turns down 8th Street.
Who: This year's grand marshals include pop legend Cyndi Lauper and New York City's first same-sex couple to wed, Phyllis Siegal and Connie Kopelov
Weekend of Pride
Watch fabulous, fancy-free women strut their stuff at Rapture on the River. Headliners at this day-into-night party include Whitney Day, Missy B, and Trini. All proceeds go to Pride Week events and community organizations. (Saturday at 4, FREE, Pier 57 - Hudson River Park, 15th St., 212-80-PRIDE)
View the floats and take part in the unavoidable dance parties at the 20th annual Dyke March. Organizers expect some 20,000 participants. (Saturday at 5, FREE, enter at Fifth Ave. and 36th St., Bryant Park, 212-479-8520)
Start your day with a hearty meal of pancakes, sausages and omelets, with Marriage Equality USA at the 5th annual Pre-Pride Breakfast. (Sunday at 9 a.m., $22, Niles Bar & Restaurant, 371 Seventh Ave., 212-629-0210)
DJs Corey Craig, The Freemasons and Moto Blanco play tunes at this eight-hour long celebration at the VIP rooftop party at Hudson Terrace. (Saturday at 2, tickets start at $45, 621 West 46th St., Hudson Terrace, 212-315-9400)