By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com March 04 2003 1:00 AM ET
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg marched Sunday in a gay-inclusive St. Patrick's Day parade, delighting organizers who have protested the exclusion of openly gay groups from the much larger Irish celebration on Fifth Avenue. "I'm glad everyone's here marching," said Bloomberg, who walked at the front of a group of several hundred participants in the 15-block parade through a heavily Irish section of Queens. "I wish all parades could be that way."
"People have said they could never imagine a St. Patrick's Day parade that was open to all, and yet here we are," said parade organizer Brendan Fay.
Bloomberg also plans to take part in the March 17 parade down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Gay groups are barred from marching under their own banners in that parade. A small group of antigay demonstrators at Sunday's parade held signs that read "Shame" and "Sacrilege." Bloomberg skipped the Columbus Day parade last year after organizers barrned two actors he had invited from the HBO series The Sopranos, saying the show negatively portrays Italian-Americans.