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De Blasio Won't March in St. Patrick's Day Parade

By Colby Hamilton | February 4, 2014 5:51pm
 One of NYC's Son's of Erin enjoying the 2011 St. Patrick's Day parade.
One of NYC's Son's of Erin enjoying the 2011 St. Patrick's Day parade.
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DNAinfo/Paul Lomax

CIVIC CENTER — The luck of the Irish appears to have run out.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that he’s not planning on attending this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, an annual rite for elected officials in the city.

“I am not planning on marching in the parade. I haven’t in the past in my capacity as an elected official,” de Blasio said during an unrelated press conference at City Hall. “I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in this city.”

De Blasio referred to the standing policy of the parade organizers that bars LGBTQ parade participants from openly identifying themselves as gay. Every mayor in modern memory, from Koch to Bloomberg, has participated in the parade.

According to the organizers' website, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade has been happening for more than 250 years and claims to be the largest in the world.

The mayor said he was planning on participating in other St. Patrick’s-related events, though he provided no details. In the past, de Blasio attended a counterpart to the larger St. Patrick’s Day parade, the St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens, which promotes its inclusion of the LGBTQ community.

Brendan Fay, the founder and co-chair of the St. Pat’s for All parade, praised de Blasio’s decision, calling it historic and significant.

"Exclusion and discrimination is wrong, period — whether on the streets of Belfast or the streets of New York,” Fay said in a statement. “Our cultural parades need to become more welcoming.”

Though he won’t be attending, de Blasio said uniformed city employees had the right to march in the parade.

Calls to the St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers for comment were not returned.