Gays were allowed to march in the past, but were unable to carry anything identifying them as a group. What?
This year, Mayor Bill de Blasio had once again threatened to boycott the parade if the ban wasn't lifted. The organizers were also facing pressure from NBC Universal, which broadcasts the parade.
“Organizers have diligently worked to keep politics—of any kind—out of the Parade in order to preserve it as a single and unified cultural event,” the Parade Committee said in a statement. “Paradoxically, that ended up politicizing the Parade. This grand cultural gem has become a target for politicization that it neither seeks nor wants because some groups could join the march but not march with their own banner.
“This change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics as it moves into its 253rd year, all the while remaining loyal to church teachings and the principles that have guided the parade committee for so many decades.”
Fun fact: The acceptance rate of gay marriage in Ireland (76%) is higher than America (55%)! Well, I suppose this isn't necessarily a "fun" fact. Let me try this again.
Fun fact: The image above was taken when I visited Dublin last year!
The parade committee also announced that OUT@NBCUniversal, an LGBT support group, will be the first gay group to march in the parade on March 17, 2015.
It will be the first time a gay group will be allowed to march under its own banner in the parade's 252-year history.
Bill O'Reilly, a spokesperson for the organizers, said that other groups will be free to apply in the future.