New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Feb. 5 he will not be marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because the parade organizers will not allow participants to display LGBTQ pride. De Blasio is the first mayor in 20 years not to walk in the parade.
LS sophomore Patricia Antonakos said everyone should have the right to show pride in who they are.
“The mayor is simply being consistent in his support of everyone’s right to be who they are without the discrimination from a community that, for the most part, has come so far in awarding everyone the same rights,” Antonakos said.
LS sophomore Aleah Halverson said de Blasio’s decision not to march is flawed because the holiday originated from religion rather than Irish heritage.
“It was supposed to be a Catholic holiday for a saint,” Halverson said. “So it’s kind of like saying he wouldn’t take part in an Easter parade because it’s all about spring.”
Mayor David Dinkins boycotted the parade in 1993 after a court ruling that allowed sponsors to exclude Irish Americans who were openly gay, while former mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg marched in the parade more recently.
Two LGBTQ groups were denied permission to participate in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2012. The groups took part in an alternative event called the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade, taking place an hour after the traditional parade and following the same route.
Despite recognizing the Catholic Church’s stance, Halverson said she would like to see a more accepting community.
“It is a shame that they aren’t letting people display their political opinions, especially since the Catholic Church is becoming more and more supportive of gay rights even though they haven’t come out as accepting them,” she said.
When Pope Francis was ordained, he made headlines when he said the church had focused too much on social issues instead of ministering to the impoverished.
Gallatin freshman Michael Abraham said until America’s celebration of diversity is open to every person, it is not a true celebration.
“And it is for that reason that I applaud de Blasio and I sincerely hope that other leaders of this city understand his decision is on the side of empowerment, not division,” Abraham said.
CAS sophomore Mike Saint-Antoine said the organizers have a legal right to include or exclude anyone.
“De Blasio is right to boycott the event, and the exclusion of LGBTQ groups from marching is a sign that the New York City Catholic League is severely out of touch with American Catholics and doesn’t understand Pope Francis’ message of inclusion or the teachings of Jesus,” Saint-Antoine said.
Abraham said the LGBTQ community is unique in fighting for equality by using public celebration as a way to change the current social structure.
“Given that, de Blasio’s decision not to attend a parade in which LGBTQ members cannot claim their identities in full view of society is all the more powerful,” Abraham said.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 11 print edition. Ann Schmidt is a news editor. Email her at email@example.com.