For the past two years, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has abstained from walking in the city’s 255-year-old St. Patrick’s Day Parade because of its anti-LGBTQ position, making him the first mayor in two decades not to participate. The nation’s largest parade of its kind did not allow any LGBTQ groups to walk in the parade until last year, when one small group was allowed to take part.
"The St. Patrick's Day Parade is a New York City tradition, but for years Irish LGBT New Yorkers could not show their pride," de Blasio told the AP. "Finally, they can celebrate their heritage by marching in a parade that now represents progress and equality."
The Lavender and Green Alliance, an Irish LGBT group that has worked tirelessly for the past 25 years to reverse the ban, will have over 300 people marching under their banner this year.
It's customary for the groups marching, some of whom have been participating for decades, to proceed in the same order, with new groups relegated to the end. But parade organizers said the new gay group would not be placed at the end of the lineup.
"We want this to be our most inclusive parade ever," said John Lahey, chairman of the parade, to ABC. "We hope that it will bring New Yorkers from all backgrounds together in a way that maybe our previous parades didn't."
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on March 17 down Fifth Avenue.