The St. Patricks Day Parade committee have confirmed the Irish Voice/irishCentral story that an LGBT group will be allowed march in the 2015 NYC St. Patricks Day parade. We also exclusively reported that Cardinal Dolan will be Grand Marshal.
The parade committee confirmed that OUT@NBCUniversal, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource group at NBC, the company that broadcasts the parade, will be marching up Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on March 17 under an identifying banner.
Craig Robinson, executive vice president and chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal, told the AP the group had applied to march, but there was no immediate word on why the group was chosen.
"We welcome the parade committee's decision to accept OUT@NBCUniversal's application to march and enthusiastically embrace the gesture of inclusion," Robinson said. "Our employees, families and friends look forward to joining in this time-honored celebration of Irish culture and heritage."
OUT@NBCUniversal is described on its website as "the affinity group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at NBCUniversal."
Other gay groups can apply to march in future years, spokesman for the parade Bill O'Reilly said.
"It's about time," Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the gay-rights group GLAAD told AP.
"Discrimination has no place on America's streets, least of all on Fifth Avenue. As an Irish-Catholic American, I look forward to a fully inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade that I can share with my wife and children, just as my own parents shared with me." She said parade organizers "must be held accountable" on their pledge to open the parade to all.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, released his comment on the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade stating who marched was a matter for them,
“The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee continues to have my confidence and support. Neither my predecessors as Archbishop of New York nor I have ever determined who would or would not march in this parade (or any of the other parades that march along Fifth Avenue, for that matter), but have always appreciated the cooperation of parade organizers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage.
"My predecessors and I have always left decisions on who would march to the organizers of the individual parades. As I do each year, I look forward to celebrating Mass in honor of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, and the Patron Saint of this Archdiocese, to begin the feast, and pray that the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us.”