NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Finally Ends Discriminatory Ban on LGBT Groups

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today commended organizers of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade for taking steps to lift the discriminatory ban on LGBT groups participating in the annual march.

The parade committee announced that next year it would allow OUT@NBCUniversal, an LGBT support group at the television network that broadcasts the event, to officially participate under its own banner. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who has a long history of opposing equality for LGBT people, will lead the parade as grand marshal.

In coming years, other LGBT groups will be allowed to apply to march.

“We are pleased that the changes proposed by the parade committee will finally make it possible for LGBT Americans -- including Irish Catholic LGBT Americans -- to officially march under their own banners,” said Sharon Groves, director of the HRC Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program. “The discriminatory ban has been shameful, particularly in the very city where the LGBT rights movement got its start 45 years ago at the Stonewall Inn.”

HRC earlier this year hailed the decisions of iconic brewers Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams for dropping their sponsorships of St. Patrick’s Day parades that perpetuate discrimination against LGBT groups by banning their participation.

The LGBT civil rights organization also commends New York Mayor Bill de Blasio who had pledged to continue to boycott the parade until discrimination against LGBT groups ended.

“Hopefully, today’s developments will lead to full inclusion of LGBT groups in the New York parade, and encourage parade organizers in other cities like Boston to follow suit and end their discrimination,” Groves said.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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