NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Boycotts St. Patrick's Day Parade over Ban on Pro-Gay Banners
Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will not participate in what is commonly billed as the nation's largest St. Patrick's day celebration, NYC's St. Patrick's Day parade. "The president of the city's Catholic League said that to his knowledge this was the first time a sitting mayor had boycotted the parade."
"Personally, I am delighted," added Catholic Leaguge President, Bill Donohue. "I lead the Catholic League contingent every year, and I do not want to march with a public official who does not want to be associated with Irish Catholics."
De Blasio, who recently had time for "a comedic break" on The Daily Show, has shunned the parade in the past over its policy of not allowing LGBT groups to carry banners. Since the nineties, there has also been a "gay-friendly" St. Patrick's Day parade held in Queens.
In recent years, several elected officials — including de Blasio when he was public advocate — attended the inclusive parade and boycotted the traditional parade.
Though de Blasio's predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage rights, he still marched in the Fifth Avenue parade all 12 years he was in office. Rudolph Giuliani also participated every year he was mayor.
The parade does not ban gays from participating, but does ban related banners and signs. It dates from 1762, back to even before NYC was fully incorporated, and is privately run. The courts have previously upheld parade organizer's First Amendment rights to control participation.
Evidently, that's not good enough for de Blasio, who claims to have been "raised Catholic", though he now doesn't belong to any church.