Gay Irish eyes are smiling in New York.
The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has declared an end to the ban on LGBT marchers in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
De Blasio, who had boycotted the parade for two years due to its anti-LGBT policy, made the announcement Thursday at the Irish consulate.
He declared it a “beautiful day” to a cheering crowd, which included members of New York’s Irish LGBT community and Consul General Barbara Jones.
“For the last two decades there has been a blemish on this city because we couldn’t be all we were meant to be,” he said, according to The Irish Times.
Ending his boycott, the mayor will join 300 marchers of the Lavender and Green Alliance in this year’s parade, which is set to take place March 17.
De Blasio said the opening of the parade to LGBT marchers was in keeping with the spirit of the Emerald Isle: “to stand up for your own rights, but also for the rights of others — that is such a deep impulse in the Irish community.”
Last year, Out@NBCUniversal made history when it became as the first LGBT group ever allowed to march — although this right was not extended to other groups. NBC is an official sponsor of the parade.