Gay group to march openly in Saint Patrick's Day Parade in New York

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 04 September 2014 | 08.21

NEW YORK: Organizers of the New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade said on Wednesday they will allow a gay group to march under its own banner in the 2015 procession, changing a decades-old policy that has come under criticism in recent years.

The group that will be allowed to walk under its own sign Out@NBCUniversal, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) support group associated with WNBC-TV, the longtime broadcast partner of the nationally televised event, scheduled for next March 17.

Controversy over the ban had led to lawsuits and boycotts. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to march in this year's parade. Two big sponsors, brewers Guinness and Heineken, yanked their sponsorship due to the ban.

Gay groups have been allowed in the city's largest St. Patrick's Day parade provided they did not display banners, flags and pins that identified sexual orientation.

The NBC-affiliated group will be the only one allowed to hoist its banner in 2015 and others can apply to march in the 2016 event, said parade spokesman William O'Reilly in an email statement.

The parade committee said the new policy was aimed at welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups while staying true to the teachings of the Catholic Church as the parade moves into its 253rd year.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, expressed support for the parade committee, saying he hopes "the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us."

Some gay advocates cheered the change, including GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis, who said on the group's website: "It's about time."

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also applauded the policy change.

"For far too long, the St. Patrick's Day Parade excluded New Yorkers just because of who they to love. I am happy organizers finally realized that this parade is better when all are invited," she said.

Others, such as Irish Queers, were skeptical. "Our call remains the same - the parade must be open to Irish LGBT groups, not 'in subsequent years' but now," the group said.

The mayor said that this was a "step forward" but perhaps not enough to join the 2015 parade. "I need to know more before I can tell you how we're going to handle something six months from now," he told reporters.,Saint Patrick's Day Parade in New York

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