New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that he will not attend this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade over the event’s long running ban on LGBT participants.
De Blasio says he won’t partake in the traditional march along Fifth Avenue because of parade organizers’ refusal to allow participants to carry gay-pride signs. The new mayor’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, always marched. De Blasio also did not march while public advocate. Its organizers say gay people are welcome to march, but they say signs celebrating being gay would detract from the parade’s focus on honoring Irish heritage. The parade is a tradition that predates the city itself. Organizers predict more than 1 million people will attend on March 17.
However De Blasio says that NYC employees will be allowed to march, despite calls from LGBT activists.
“I believe that uniformed city workers have a right to participate if they choose to. And I respect that right,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters today when asked about the issue at his latest appointment press conference at City Hall. LGBT leaders and other officials, including Public Advocate Tish James, wrote an open letter to the mayor yesterday in the Gay City News calling on him to “Ban Uniformed City Personnel in Discriminatory St. Pat’s Parade.” The police commissioner and uniformed police, firefighters and other city personnel typically march in the parade down Fifth Avenue every year.
Catholic League blowhard Bill Donohue says that he is glad De Blasio won’t be there.
This is the first time in New York City history that its mayor has decided to boycott the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Personally, I am delighted: I lead the Catholic League contingent every year, and I do not want to march with a public official who does not want to be associated with Irish Catholics. De Blasio says he will not march because the parade does not allow pro-gay signs. Neither does it allow pro-life ones. The great myth has always been that the parade is anti-gay: in previous years, I have gone on the radio inviting gays to march with the Catholic League, provided they do not draw attention to themselves or to some extrinsic cause. The parade is not about homosexuals, or abortion, or anything other than honoring St. Patrick.