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Coalition: De Blasio Must Not Allow Uniformed Officers in Explicitly 'Anti-Gay' St. Patrick's Day Parade

A huge coalition of LGBTQ organizations and allies are continuing to pressure NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio to stop allowing uniformed police and fire officers to march in the "explicitly anti-gay and discriminatory" NYC St. Patrick's Day parade, saying that De Blasio's solution — that he would not march but they could — is not satisfactory.

DeblasioThe group responded to De Blasio yesterday with another letter:

Yesterday a broad-based community letter called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to direct NYPD and FDNY Commissioners to stop sending uniformed officers to the nation's largest anti-LGBTQ event—the NYC St. Patrick's Day parade. In response, the Mayor has ducked and punted, saying only that he won't march himself. This isn't much to be celebrated: no truly progressive politician has marched since the parade banned the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization from marching with its banner in 1991, and Mayor Dinkins stood alongside ILGO only to be pelted with beer cans.

The parade is explicitly anti-gay and discriminatory. Because the NYC Human Rights Commission said it violated the City's human rights law in 1992, parade organizers sought deliberately to define it as a private and religious event in order to continue to exclude LGBTQ people. Indeed, John Dunleavy, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade chairman, infamously compared LGBTQ marchers to the KKK being allowed to march in an African-American parade in Harlem.

Police and firefighters march by the thousands, making up most of the parade. (Did you think it was a celebration of Irish pride? That’s so 1992.) Their uniforms clearly convey that the City endorses the march. The Mayor's cavalier dismissal of the City's human rights law today compounds that effect. We get it: we LGBTQ people don't matter.

When NYPD and the FDNY wear their official work uniforms and march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, they diminish their sworn respect for the laws of this great city and violate the spirit of the city’s human rights law. Employers make rules about uniforms and that’s the issue in dispute – the wearing of official uniforms which conveys to the world that this parade’s bigotry is endorsed by our city government. But the law protects us, and we will insist that the Mayor uphold it. We are told that we can march if we don’t identify ourselves in any way. If that is the way we are to be treated, then City personnel should march as individuals with their counties but not in City uniforms. While we protest the rising homophobia in Russia, Nigeria and elsewhere around the world, we seek to end homophobic discrimination here at home as well. The St. Pat’s Parade has a right to its anti-gay march under the constitution. But the City and all supporters of human rights must do everything we can to isolate it.

The full list of LGBTQ groups and allies signing the letter can be found HERE.

NYC Mayor Won't March in St. Patrick's Day Parade Over Gay Exclusion; Says Workers Can

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio says he'll continue a personal boycott of the St. Patrick's Day parade because of its "exclusion of some individuals in the city," Politicker reports:

DeblasioSaid De Blasio:

“No I am not planning on marching in the parade, I haven’t in the past in my capacity as a public official,” he added. “I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city … But I simply disagree with the organizer of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in the city.”

The mayor says, however, that he won't stop uniformed city workers from doing so:

“I believe that uniformed city workers have a right to participate if they choose to. And I respect that right."

The parade bars the participation of gay groups.

Gay City News had called on the mayor to ban uniformed workers from marching in an open letter signed by many LGBT rights organizations

The presence of uniformed police and firefighters in such a procession sends a clear signal to LGBTQ New Yorkers that these personnel, who are charged with serving and protecting all New Yorkers, do not respect the lives or safety of LGBT people. It confirms the practice of the NYPD and FDNY at times of targeting certain communities for discrimination. What’s more, it betrays the current work of high level government agencies and human rights advocates working internationally against the current wave of extreme anti-LGBTQ legislation and discriminatory practices occurring in countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, and Russia.

Indeed, legal precedent on this matter, in Pappas v. Giuliani, 290 F.3d 143 (2d Cir. 2002), says: “The effectiveness of a city’s police department depends importantly on the respect and trust of the community and on the perception in the community that it enforces the law fairly, even-handedly, and without bias. If the police department treats a segment of the population of any race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual preference, etc., with contempt, so that the particular minority comes to regard the police as oppressor rather than protector, respect for law enforcement is eroded and the ability of the police to do its work in that community is impaired.”

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Shovels Out the Sidewalk: VIDEO


NYC's 109th Mayor Bill De Blasio reacts to last night's snowstorm from his home in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


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Bill De Blasio Elected Mayor of NYC, and More Election Results — UPDATED

DeblasioBill De Blasio won a landslide election to become NYC's 109th mayor and its first Democratic mayor in a generation:

His overwhelming victory, stretching from the working-class precincts of central Brooklyn to the suburban streets of northwest Queens, amounted to a forceful rejection of the hard-nosed, business-minded style of governance that reigned at City Hall for the past two decades and a sharp leftward turn for the nation’s largest metropolis.

Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat who is the city’s public advocate, defeated his Republican opponent, Joseph J. Lhota, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, by a wide margin.

Exit polls conducted by Edison Research suggested that the sweep of his victory cut across all of New York’s traditional divides. He won support from voters regardless of race, gender, age, education, religion or income, according to the exit poll.

In other election results:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie easily won reelection against Democratic Senator Barbara Buono.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe has beaten Virginia wingnut Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor's race. Homophobe pastor E.W. Jackson has lost the race for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia.

Annise Parker has won reelection as mayor of Houston, Texas.

Washington State Senator is poised to defeat Ed McGinn to become Seattle's first openly gay mayor.

Royal Oak, Michigan has upheld an LGBT-inclusive human rights ordinance.


And here are the results for candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund.

If there are races around the country that have been called that Towleroad readers might be interested in, please feel free to chime in in the comments.

Bill De Blasio Has 50-Point Lead in NYC Mayor's Race, Poll Shows: VIDEO

A new Quinnipiac poll on the New York City mayor's race shows Democrat Bill de Blasio with a50-point lead over Republican Joe Lhota, the NYT reports:

MayorMr. de Blasio, a Democrat, received the support of 71 percent of likely voters, compared with 21 percent for Mr. Lhota, the poll found. The Independence Party candidate, Adolfo Carrión Jr., received 2 percent.

The poll, conducted from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, showed Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, with a comfortable lead among white voters and an enormous one among blacks and Hispanics. Only 5 percent of likely voters remained undecided, and less than a tenth of those who favored Mr. de Blasio said there was a good chance they would change whom they supported.

Both De Blasio and Lhota have released the first campaign ads.

Watch them, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn Endorses Bill De Blasio for Mayor: VIDEO


City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was defeated in last week's Democratic primary, put her support behind Bill De Blasio's NYC mayoral campaign at a press conference earlier today.


A new poll shows De Blasio with a 43-point lead over Republican opponent Joe Lhota.

Continue reading "NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn Endorses Bill De Blasio for Mayor: VIDEO" »


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