Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed Tuesday he will boycott the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue because of the organizers’ policy effectively banning gay groups from taking part, but he won’t prohibit New York City employees from marching.
Mr. de Blasio, a Brooklyn Democrat, will be the first mayor in two decades to sit out the event, billed as the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in a city where Irish roots are a point of pride for many voters. But the mayor on Tuesday disappointed some gay groups and elected officials who have publicly called on him to bar city employees from marching in uniform.
“I believe that uniformed city workers have a right to participate if they choose to and I respect that right,” Mr. de Blasio said Tuesday during a City Hall news conference.
The mayor said he would be participating in a number of other events in the coming weeks to honor Irish heritage and the contributions of Irish-Americans. But he said he wouldn’t march in the parade because of its policy on gay groups.
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