SI Lawmakers To Skip St. Patrick’s Day Parade After LGBTQ Groups Denied

Kristie Keleshian
February 24, 2020 - 7:36 pm
St. Patrick's Day Parade

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is facing opposition from local officials who say they aren't participating because the island’s LGBTQ support organization was rejected from the march.

Carol Bullock, executive director for the Pride Center of Staten Island, describes herself as an optimist by nature and thought the parade organizers would allow the group to take part in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, despite being rejected in years past.

“Going in there, I just thought, ‘okay, this is going to be the year’ and unfortunately, it wasn't,” she explained.

Bullock says the organization has been denied each year it has applied to be part of the parade on Staten Island.

Parade organizers says it's not a “sexual identification parade” and that the organization's banner promotes a “homosexual lifestyle.”

“None of us are promoting a homosexual lifestyle, what we're doing is enhancing the lives of the LGBTQ community,” Bullock said.

She says the organization will apply again next year. Meanwhile, some local politicians, including Staten Island Council Member Steven Matteo, Rep. Max Rose and Borough President James Oddo, say they will not participate in the event.

Oddo refused to march in 2019 when the Pride Center was denied again.

"Let them march, let's go, it's past time," Matteo said. "I'm hopeful for next year."

Calls to the parade organizers have not been returned.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that the Irish-Catholic organization, the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, organizes the parade.

The parade is organized by the Richmond County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Inc.

"No entity of the Order is permitted to run a Parade as part of the AOH," the organization said in a statement. "Any Hibernians who wish to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland and the contributions that the Irish have made to our nation and the world by organizing a parade or event are free to do so but must do so by forming or joining a separate and distinct organization independent of the Ancient Order of Hibernians."