Members of the New York City Council have joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in boycotting the city’s 2014 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for its refusal to allow LGBT people to participate openly.
One of them, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, said “The St. Patrick’s Parade should be a time when all New Yorkers can come together and march openly as who they are—but right now that is not the case for the LGBT community.
“This City Council is committed to celebrating and respecting the diversity of New York City and that is why we’ve decided to not participate in the parade. I hope the organizers will eventually realize that the parade will be better when all New Yorkers can march openly and proudly.”
Though organizers say that everyone is welcome to participate in the parade, they refuse to allow groups or individuals to march with banners or signs that identify them as LGBT.
Mayor de Blasio announced his boycotting of the parade on February 4 when he said at a press conference, “I am not planning on marching in the parade. I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade.”
His decision makes him the first New York City mayor to be absent from the event in over twenty years. The last to boycott the parade was David N. Dinkins in 1993, who declined to participate after sponsors were victorious in a court case that banned openly gay Irish-Americans from participating in the parade.
The New York Saint Patrick’s Day parade will be on Monday, March 17.