How Would Mayor Christine Quinn Handle New York’s Exclusionary St. Patrick’s Day Parade?

16quinn190Though everyone knew it was coming, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn officially threw her hat in the ring last weekend and announced her candidacy for mayor.

Quinn has her supporters and detractors, even among progressives, but there’s no denying she’s been a staunch advocate for the city’s LGBT community.

As the Big Apple gears up for another St. Patrick’s Day parade today, we wondered how, if elected, Her Honor would handle the event, which is notorious both for its exclusion of LGBT groups and the attendance of prominent local politicians.

Though Quinn is of Irish descent, she has always refused to march in the parade because of the policy: “I’ve marched in Dublin [in its St. Patrick’s Day parade] with visibly identifiable stickers and buttons that made clear we were both Irish and LGBT,” she said this week. “If you can do that in Dublin, in God’s name, why can’t you do it on Fifth Avenue?”

Michael Bloomberg, New York’s current mayor, will march in the parade today, though he continues to press organizers to welcome gay groups.

Should she be in Gracie Mansion in 2014, will Quinn try to force the parade to accept gay contingents? (The courts said they had a First Amendment right to discriminate.) Will she make a big public statement about the parade’s policy?

Or will she just quietly skip it and do something else.

Politics is tricky business: How can a gay mayor play activist without alienating the millions of New Yorkers who think of the St. Patrick’s Day parade as nothing more than a festive community celebration? And is it worth the political capital to take a stand against a parade when there are so many other battles to fight?

Play political strategist and give Quinn some sound advice in the comments section below!


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  • Dakotahgeo

    Quite simple… lift the ban or no parade permit! Let ’em march five miles east in the Atlantic if they walk on water so well!

  • Donny

    Hoping the LGBT community won’t find out, Christine Quinn has, for years, funded this parade with City Council discretionary funds while scoring points with progressives for boycotting it. As usual, Quinn is playing both sides. Quinn’s use of our tax dollars to fund this exclusionary parade isn’t even legal: http://old.gothamgazette.com/article/civilrights/20110510/3/3523

  • Kieran

    It might be easier if we had Gay groups marching as seperate contingents in the Thanksgiving Day parade, the Columbus Day parade, the Puerto Rican Day parade, the Pulaski Day parade…..then we could say: These parades have Gay contingents, why not you? Let’s get busy on that.

  • hephaestion

    I presume they can only exclude gay GROUPS but not gay INDIVIDUALS. Christine Quinn could march with her girlfriend and wave rainbow flags with the Irish flag.

    And all gay individuals marching could be encouraged to do likewise.

  • andy_d

    The parade should receive no funding, directly or INDIRECTLY from the city. If the organizers want police, they should pay for the officers’ time and all the logistics. The organizers need to pay for all the mess left behind after the parade, too.

  • Kieran

    Sorry andy, but if they cut funding for St Patrick’s Day parade they’d have to cut it for Gay Pride parade too. Do we want Gay pride organizers to be responsible for paying for police and clean-up after the Gay pride festivities? Do we want Gay pride organizers to be able to decide who marches in Gay pride parades? What if Fred Phelpps Baptist Church demands it’s right to march in the Gay pride parade?

  • Creamsicle

    If this is indeed an important issue to her constituents then I think that the solution should be to make it easier for a different, more inclusive group to have another St. Patrick’s Day parade. The organizers of the current St. Patrick’s Day parade do indeed have a constitutional right to discriminate since they are (presumably) not receiving federal monies. So until they can be convinced that LGBT inclusion is something that would benefit everyone involved there should be a competing parade to prove it to them.

  • MuscleModelBlog.com

    Although they legally “can” discriminate because of the First Ammendment, I think they should be more open about who can march in the parade–there are gay and lesbian Irish-Americans, too.

  • DarkZephyr

    @Kieran: Are you annoyed by gay people?

  • jar

    @MuscleModelBlog.com: The parade organizers’ position is that gay and lesbian people can march, they just cannot march under a gay and lesbian banner.

    I applaud Quinn for not caving overtly on this issue, but she would be a horrible mayor for NYC, including the gay and lesbian community.

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