Photo: In 2013, future Mayor Bill de Blasio snubs main NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade, marches in outer borough of Queens
In yet another sharp change of course from all his predecessors, New York City‘s new mayor says he will not march in the historic St. Patrick’s Day parade. In his prior role as NYC Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio always snubbed the 252-year-old event, but specified he will not march this year because parade organizers have always banned LGBT groups from marching with signs that identify them.
“I am not planning on marching in the parade, I haven’t in the past in my capacity as a public official,” Mayor de Blasio said. “I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city … But I simply disagree with the organizer of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in the city.”
The mayor was asked by the city’s new Public Advocate to ban uniformed city personnel from marching, but he refused.
Politicker New York reports that “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.”
“The presence of uniformed police and firefighters in such a procession sends a clear signal to LGBTQ New Yorkers that these personnel, who are charged with serving and protecting all New Yorkers, do not respect the lives or safety of LGBT people,” they wrote. “We are asking you to direct all City departments not to organize marchers for or allow personnel to participate in this anti-LGBTQ procession either in uniform or with any banner that identifies them with the City.”
De Blasio’s response? “I respect the right of our city workers to march in uniform, period.”
Last year, de Blasio marched in another New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, in the Rockaways. It is not associated with the historic event that bans LGBT groups.
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