New York City's new mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday (4 February) that he plans to skip the city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade next month - an event that pointedly excludes the participation of gays.
'I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city,' the mayor tells politicker.com. 'But I simply disagree with the organizer of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in the city.'
De Blassio had not attended the parade before becoming mayor for the same reason.
It's a departure from his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, who marched in the parade each year.
De Blasio is getting pressure from LGBTI leaders and other officials who do not want him to allow city personnel to march in the parade in their uniforms.
They wrote in an open letter to the mayor that allowing police, firefighters and other personnel to march down Fifth Avenue in uniform sends 'a clear signal' that they 'do not respect the lives or safety of LGBT people.'
But de Blasio is not extending the ban past anyone but himself.
'I believe that uniformed city workers have a right to participate if they choose to. And I respect that right,' de Blasio told reporters Tuesday.