New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to attend Sunday's gay St. Patrick's Day parade
in Queens. The event is held as a protest to the traditional St. Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which prohibits gay groups from marching under their banners. Organizers are looking for a large turnout for the fourth annual Inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade, which is being held in Woodside, a heavily Irish neighborhood. Parade organizer Brendan Fay said gay police officers and firefighters have registered to participate. He told Newsday that he believes gay Irish groups will be able to participate in the Fifth Avenue parade someday. "The day will come when we will be able to march not only in Queens but on Fifth Avenue as well, with the rest of the Irish leaders," Fay said.
But not everyone is happy with Bloomberg's decision. "He's definitely thumbing his nose at the more conservative-moderate community," Patrick Hurley, president of the Woodside Republican Club, told Newsday. He said the gay St. Patrick's Day parade is an insult to the Irish-American community and the Catholic and Christian communities in Woodside. Bloomberg's spokesman Ed Skyler disagrees, however, with those who take issue with the mayor's participation in the gay parade. "If they don't like it, they don't have to go," Skyler said. "It's a free country." Bloomberg also plans to attend the Fifth Avenue parade on March 17.