A gay pride event, which is being held in the same US city as is set to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention, hopes to raise enough awareness to influence the party’s decision on gay marriage.

Organisers hoped that the gay pride festival in Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend, which was expected to draw in thousands of supporters, would build up enough “momentum” of support to carry on through until the DNC, which is also to be held there from September 3.

Before the decision to use the timing of the two events to their advantage, equal marriage advocates had been angry at the decision to hold the DNC in Charlotte, as voters there recently passed Amendment One, which banned gay marriage, including civil unions.

David Webb, one of the organisers of the event, said: “It’s an opportunity for the community to say, `Yes. The state may have passed an amendment limiting our liberties, but we’re going to keep fighting.’ This is an opportunity to show the community and ourselves that, you know what, we’re not down and out,”

The Democrats are expected to pass gay marriage at their conference in September, and their platform committee endorsed gay marriage recently, for the first time. They had called for a repeal of the federal law which defined marriage as between a man and woman.

Three months ago, President Barack Obama announced his support for gay couples to have the same legal right to marry as straight couples. 

The Charlotte, nicknamed the “Queen City”, pride event started today, and is set to carry on until 6pm on Sunday August 26.

An attendee of the event tweeted: “In Charlotte, NC. Went to the Gay Pride event – such an incredible sense of togetherness.”