NY politician wants gays at St Patrick’s Day parade

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay, has said that the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade next year should include gay people and representatives from Northern Ireland.

The New York City parade is organised by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish-Catholic fraternal organisation.

They have refused to allow gay and lesbian groups to march in the parade since 1991.

After becoming council speaker Ms Quinn tried to make a deal with the organisers of the event last year. The discussions were unsuccessful.

This year she snubbed New York and marched in the Dublin parade on March 17th after being personally invited by officials.

“The truth is, the parade is stuck, and it’s stuck and mired in a controversy that takes away from what the parade has been and what the parade could be,” Ms Quinn told New York public radio show yesterday.

She also suggested inviting the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, to take part in the parade.

Last year she said: “Unfortunately, a compromise has not been reached with organisers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade that would allow LGBT Irish New Yorkers to march in a way that openly celebrates our heritage and identity.

“New York City is the most diverse and welcoming place in the world – it’s a shame that for yet another year our St. Patrick’s Day parade won’t reflect that diversity.”

The parade in New York is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day events in the world.

In 2006 more than 150,000 marchers took part in the procession and around 2 million spectators watched on from the streets.