Mayor [Bill] de Blasio is attending the parade for the first time since he became mayor in 2014, now that a ban on openly gay groups has been dropped.
For years, organizers said gay people could participate but couldn’t carry signs or buttons celebrating their sexual identities. Organizers said they didn’t want to divert focus from honoring Irish heritage.
This led to decades of protests by the LGBT community and boycotts by politicians like de Blasio.
Parade organizers opened a door to gay groups last year, allowing a contingent from parade sponsor NBCUniversal, of which NBC 4 New York is a subsidiary. Another group, the Lavender & Green Alliance, joins this year.
Governor Cuomo and the entire City Council will also be at the parade, as will 150,000 parade marchers.
“This will be the most inclusive parade in the 255-year history of the parade,” parade chair John Lahey said. “And really I think it will be the most unifying parade in the past 25 years.”