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Other Groups Hope to March After Parade Admits Gay Organization

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TWC News: Other Groups Hope to March After Parade Admits Gay Organization
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A gay organization will finally get a chance to march in the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade under its own banner, but the decision still has some advocates disappointed. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

They're St. Patrick's Day traditions: kilts and bagpipes and, recently, protesters.

For 23 years, the St. Patrick's Day Parade up Fifth Avenue has not allowed gay and lesbian groups to march under a banner. Until now.

"This change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill," said John Lahey of the St. Patrick's Day Parade Comittee.

And apparently, concern about losing a broadcast partner. The first, and only, group to march next year will be a gay and lesbian employee organization at NBC Universal. WNBC carries the parade.

Parade organizers insisted they didn't bow to pressure.

"I don't think we're bending to anyone's pressure," Lahey said. "We received an application. We entertained it and approved it."

It remains to be seen whether the committee OK's other groups. That includes the Irish gay groups who long sought entrance in the festivities.

"It's supposed to be a celebration of the Irish community, and a large portion of the Irish community is still banned from it," said Emmaia Gelman of Irish Queers.

For now, the limited decision has brought together people on different sides.

"I have no trouble with the decision at all," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

"Our community never lost faith that we would change this parade," said former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Quinn was arrested demonstrating the exclusion.

It's still unclear whether Mayor Bill de Blasio will march.

"We need a truly inclusive parade," he said. "Whatever the details, this indicates progress. This is a step forward."

Other mayors have strolled up Fifth Avenue, but de Blasio didn't this year.

The mayor says he needs to know more before deciding what to do a little more than six months from now.

Meanwhile, Dolan will be the next grand marshal. He will be the first cardinal to serve as grand marshal since Edward Egan in 2002.

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