One of New York’s leading Irish American political figures has expressed her regret over the exclusion of LGBT groups from the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
City Council speaker Christine Quinn won't be marching in Saturday's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The Irish American is the leading Democratic mayoral candidate and could become the city’s first openly gay and first female mayor later this fall.
A granddaughter of Irish immigrants, she is saddened and mystified why LGBT groups cannot display their any gay-pride messages while marching in the famous Fifth Avenue parade.
"I've marched in Dublin (in its St. Patrick's Day parade) with visibly identifiable stickers and buttons that made clear we were both Irish and LGBT," she told the AP.
"If you can do that in Dublin, in God's name, why can't you do it on Fifth Avenue?"
Speaking in 2011, Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said he found the Fifth Avenue parade at odds with “Irishness” due to its exclusion of LGBT communities.
“What these parades are about is a celebration of Ireland and Irishness. I think they need to celebrate Ireland as it is, not as people imagine it. Equality is very much the center of who we are in our identity in Ireland," the Minister said.
“This issue of exclusion is not Irish, let’s be clear about it. Exclusion is not an Irish thing. … I think that’s the message that needs to be driven home.”
Mayor Bloomberg, who is due to march in the parade and agrees that LGBT groups should be allowed to participate with their banners.
"My job as mayor nevertheless is to attend these parades, and I will continue to attend them – at the same time, while I am working as hard as I can to get the parade organizers to change," he said in 2011 .
Speaker Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg both marched in the 14th annual St. Pat's For All parade in Sunnyside, Queens earlier this month. This parade merits itself as being one of the most diverse in the city, embracing LGBT contingents, community groups, children's bands, Irish organizations and religious and civic groups, all in celebration of Ireland.