New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by attending a few events “to honor the Irish heritage of this city and the contributions of Irish-Americans," but the list of events does not include marching in NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. At a City Hall news conference, Mayor de Blasio stated “I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in this city”.
He will be the first mayor in twenty years to not participate in the parade. Mayor David Dinkins was the last NYC mayor to boycott the parade after its sponsors won the legal right to block LGBT Irish groups from celebrating their Irish heritage in the parade.
Mr. de Blasio’s decision was quickly denounced by William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, based in New York, who issued a sharply worded statement saying he was “delighted” to avoid marching alongside “a public official who does not want to be associated with Irish Catholics.”
But Mr. de Blasio also faced criticism from some of his allies on the political left, who said the mayor ought to do more to censure the parade’s organizers.
A coalition of liberal activists and city officials — including the public advocate, Letitia James — this week urged Mr. de Blasio to restrict public workers, such as firefighters and police officers, from marching in the parade while wearing formal city uniforms.
The mayor firmly dismissed that idea on Tuesday. “Uniformed city workers have a right to participate if they choose to, and I respect that right,” he said.
While Donohue claimed that the mayor is being disrespectful to the Irish Catholic community, de Blasio's action reminds us that being LGBT and being Irish Catholic are not mutually exclusive; rather, he is advocating for a parade that celebrates all people of Irish decent. His decision to not support the St. Patrick's Day Parade because they exclude LGBT New Yorkers shows that he is serious about equality.
The New York Times has the full story.