De Blasio To Boycott New York St. Patrick's Day Parade Over Gay Ban

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio broke with decades of tradition on Tuesday, announcing that he won’t be marching in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade this year. His gripe? The decision by parade organizers to ban gay pride displays at this year’s festivities. De Blasio has boycotted the parade for years, but this year is different, since he’s, you know, mayor.

“No, I am not planning on marching in the parade,” de Blasio told reporters Tuesday. “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.”

For the last twenty years, every New York City Mayor has marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, which is the longest-running in the nation. The event’s organizers have long banned gay rights groups from participating — or, to be specific, banned participants from identifying as gay — and several gay protesters were arrested protesting the parade in 1993.

While de Blasio won’t be participating in the parade, he also made clear that he will not, as some had requested, prevent uniformed city employees from marching.

“I believe that uniformed city workers have a right to participate if they choose to,” de Blasio said. “And I respect that right.”

If you, like de Blasio, are looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in New York in a homophobia-free setting, check out St. Pat’s For All, an alternative parade in Queens that’s open to everybody.