Following Mayor Bill de Blasio announcement that he will break with a recent tradition and refuse to march in the Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade, the City Council has announced it will do the same.
Citing the parade’s exclusion of openly gay participants, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s office said today that “there will be no official City Council presence at the parade, no banner and no Sergeant–at-Arms present.”
“Individual Council Members can still be able to participate if they wish,” the office noted.
According to Gay City News, “Past speakers, including out lesbian Christine Quinn as well as Gifford Miller, declined to participate in the parade, but allowed a formal contingent of Council members who wished to march to do so.”
“The St. Patrick’s Parade should be a time when all New Yorkers can come together and march openly as who they are- but right now that is not the case for the LGBT community,” Ms. Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “This City Council is committed to celebrating and respecting the diversity of New York City and that is why we’ve decided to not participate in the parade. I hope the organizers will eventually realize that the parade will be better when all New Yorkers can march openly and proudly.”
View the full announcement below:
SPEAKER MARK-VIVERITO ANNOUNCES NYC COUNCIL WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
Speaker Cites Parade Policy Which Effectively Bans LGBT Groups from Marching
City Hall — Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced today that the New York City Council as an institution will not participate in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, citing the parades rules that effectively ban LGBT groups from taking part. The decision means that there will be no official City Council presence at the parade, no banner and no Sergeant–at-Arms present. Individual Council Members can still be able to participate if they wish.
“The St. Patrick’s Parade should be a time when all New Yorkers can come together and march openly as who they are- but right now that is not the case for the LGBT community,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This City Council is committed to celebrating and respecting the diversity of New York City and that is why we’ve decided to not participate in the parade. I hope the organizers will eventually realize that the parade will be better when all New Yorkers can march openly and proudly.”
“I applaud Speaker Mark-Viverito for taking a stand against the exclusion of LGBT marchers in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “As a proud gay man who is equally proud to be an Irish-American, I am outraged each year that parade organizers shamefully discriminate against the LGBT community. I won’t march until we can all march – and I’m proud to be a member of this New York City Council which is always fighting for equality for all.”
“I commend our City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for standing in solidarity with the LGBT community,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “One of the greatest joys of being an elected official in New York City is celebrating the diversity of my constituents. As the first openly gay elected official in Brooklyn, inclusion is at the core of my political philosophy. We are better off as a City when we embrace all New Yorkers, regardless of who they love.”
“I stand in proud solidarity with Speaker Mark-Viverito and my fellow members of the New York City Council who will not be marching in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. As a city we must embrace diversity and tolerance and respect the dignity of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres, the first openly gay public official elected in the Bronx.
“St. Patrick’s Day has traditionally been a day when everyone can be Irish,” said Council Member Daniel Patrick Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). “Unfortunately, in New York City the Hibernians seem to have disavowed that old Irish tradition and have not allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to march in the 5th Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade under their own banner for more than 20 years. In Ireland, not only do gay groups march but they often win awards for the best contingent. The Hibernians must return to their Irish roots and heritage, become hospitable and allow LGBT groups to fully participate. Enough is enough. I am extremely proud that the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has taken a strong stand against bigotry and will not participate in the parade until LGBT people are treated equally.”
“Elected officials in our great City should not march in a parade that condones discrimination,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “Parade organizers continue to unfairly ban LGBT New Yorkers who wish to march. As a born and raised Irish-Catholic, I’m proud to be an LGBT member of the City Council, and I’m grateful that the leadership of the Council and my colleagues will not endorse discrimination by marching. It is still my hope that the Hibernians will accept every Irish person, no matter who they love.”
“Members of the New York City Council have always made an individual decision whether to participate or not in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year Council Members still have a choice of whether to participate except without the benefit of the NYC Council banner. As an out lesbian, I have always chosen not to march in a parade that denies the LGBTQ community and its supporters the right to march with threats of arrest if in anyway we identify ourselves with our community during the parade procession. Instead, I proudly march and celebrate with the Irish community at the inclusive Saint Pat’s for All Parade in Queens,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez.
“As a member of the New York City Council and a proud Irish American, I support the efforts of my colleagues in trying to make the St. Patrick’s Day Parade representative of the diverse walks of life of all those who share and celebrate our heritage,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. “This year I will be standing in unity with my fellow Council Members by marching in the St. Pat’s for All Parade in Queens.”