NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Organizers of the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade announced Wednesday that they are ending a ban and allowing a gay group to march under its own banner for the first time.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, proud New York Irish Catholics have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a parade in New York City since 1762. But since the 1990s, gay groups have protested the rule keeping them from marching under their own banner.
The prohibition on identified gay groups have made participation a political issue. In 1995, more than a dozen gay rights protesters were arrested at the parade.
The parade committee, in a statement made available to The Associated Press, said Wednesday that OUT(at)NBCUniversal — a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender support group at the company that broadcasts the parade — would be marching up Fifth Avenue on March 17 of next year under an identifying banner.
“This change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community, all the while remaining loyal to church teachings and principles that have guided the parade committee for so many decades,” parade committee said in a statement.