Superstar singer Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance to help celebrate the start of gay pride weekend in New York City, saluting this week's victories in the Supreme Court while denouncing the recent violence targeting gays in the city.
Lady Gaga, whose support for the LGBT community is well-known, took to the stage at a rally in TriBeCa to sing her own brand of the national anthem, altering part of the "Star-Spangled Banner" at one point to say, "Oh, say does that flag of pride yet wave."
Pride Weekend in New York has long been a victory lap for tolerance and diversity, but this year, just days after same-sex couples won two Supreme Court victories, the kick-off concert was more emotional for Gaga and her crowd.
In her first public appearance since a hip injury forced her to cancel her tour, Lady Gaga not only praised the ruling that handed same-sex married couples federal benefits but also blasted the recent high-profile bias attacks in the city, including a fatal shooting in the West Village.
"The violence that has taken place towards LGBTs in the past months is unacceptable here and anywhere," she told a crowd at a kick-off rally in TriBeCa. "Enough is enough."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there would stepped-up police presence at gay pride events, beginning Friday night and extend through Sunday night. Another NYPD official told NBC 4 New York police coverage will be doubled from past years.
"There's been concern, rightly so, about some of the violence that's happened in the gay community -- we'll take that into account as far as our deployments are concerned," Kelly told reporters Friday.
Last month, a 32-year-old gay man was shot in the head by a man who allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs before firing the shot. Several others were also targeted in violent attacks around the same time, and outrage over the bias crimes led to a march through the Village and calls for the violence to end.
Police said at the time that anti-gay attacks had spiked in recent months.
Kelly said Friday that police want to "make certain that we sort of provide a level of comfort, you might say, to people participating in the events this weekend."
The gay pride parade begins at noon on Sunday, and goes from 36th Street and Fifth Avenue to Christopher and Greenwich streets.
-- Chris Glorioso and Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.