POLITICS

Bill De Blasio Refuses To March In St. Patrick's Day Parade That Mostly Excludes LGBT People

03/02/2015 03:54 pm ET | Updated Mar 03, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said he won't march in the Manhattan St. Patrick's Day parade because the event organizers aren't inclusive of gay people.

The AP reports parade organizers are allowing one group to march in this year's parade with an LGBT-themed banner, but for de Blasio, that's not enough.

"We need something more for it to really feel like we've turned the corner," de Blasio said Sunday. "A lot of people feel -- I think, rightfully -- that that is too small a change to merit a lot of us participating."

De Blasio did march in a St. Patrick's-themed parade in Queens on Sunday. The event, called St. Pat's for All, featured human rights activist Kerry Kennedy as its grand marshal, the New York Times reports.

De Blasio skipped Manhattan's St. Patrick's Day parade, the country's oldest event celebrating the March holiday, in 2014. It was the first time in 20 years the mayor of New York City chose not to participate in the event.

This year's parade will take place on March 17 and be broadcast by NBC.

Below, more from the AP on what parade organizers and Irish political leaders have said about de Blasio's decision:

The parade's organizers have not suggested that they will alter the policy. The event — one of the largest parades on the city calendar — has been held for than 250 years and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, will serve as grand marshal.

The mayor's decision to likely skip the parade could be another source of tension with the city's Irish political leaders, a group that has seen its influence wane in recent years.

Its numbers have shrunk, largely due to moves to the suburbs and the rise of other ethnic political groups, and many Irish leaders were alarmed last year when the mayor appeared to consider canceling the city's annual Hibernians breakfast St. Patrick's Day morning. The event was held, but much smaller than in previous years.

Additionally, some Irish leaders have condemned de Blasio's long-delayed plan to ban horse carriages from city streets. Many of the carriage drivers are recent Irish immigrants.

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