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Saturday, March 1, 2014

It Will Be a Gay Day for the Irish

February is over, March comes in like a snow beast and St. Patrick's Day cometh on the 17th, two days after the Ides. My friends and I long ago dubbed the day "Straight Pride Day" because it has a parade, revelers, big bar scene, souvenir street vendors and the event organizers still refuse to let openly gay groups participate in the parade.

Well, this year, New York City finally refused to be a part of this discriminatory practice. Previous mayors have marched on St Patty's but the City's new Mayor, Bill de Blasio (who took office in January) will break with tradition and skip Manhattan's St. Patrick's Day parade, the nation's largest. "I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city," de Blasio said during a press conference earlier this month. "But I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade."

Four days later, NYC's City Council joined in the official boycott. According to Colin Campbell at Politicker:  "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."

Not far up the East Coast, Boston's mayor, Martin Walsh (the son of Irish immigrants) announced he, too, will boycott his city's St. Patrick's Day parade unless organizers allow gay military veterans to march.

Since the 1990s, the Manhattan parade (a tradition that began in 1762) has had its bigoted policy protested and has been subject to anti-discriminatory lawsuits. Drawing over a million people each year and about 200,000 participants, its exclusionary rules led to a separate, gay-friendly St. Patrick's Day parade in Queens. Some elected city officials -- including de Blasio -- chose to march in the Queens parade while boycotting the one in Manhattan.

Remember, St Patty's organizers for Manhattan, the half-Irish-American Buddy O'Beaverhausen says: the pot o' gold lies somewhere under the rainbow.

By the way, in Ireland, due to St Patty's Day's status as a Roman Catholic holiday, it is commonly celebrated by churchgoing. The religious restrictions on drinking during Lent are lifted for the day but many pubs are closed because of the holiday. March to that in March!
religious restrictions on drinking alcohol during Lent that are normally in place are lifted for the day - See more at: http://www.irish-expressions.com/saint-patrick-day.html#sthash.w3QImpXh.dpuf
religious restrictions on drinking alcohol during Lent that are normally in place are lifted for the day - See more at: http://www.irish-expressions.com/saint-patrick-day.html#sthash.w3QImpXh.dpuf
religious restrictions on drinking alcohol during Lent that are normally in place are lifted for the day - See more at: http://www.irish-expressions.com/saint-patrick-day.html#sthash.w3QImpXh.dpuf

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