• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Christine Quinn, dad to march in St. Patrick's Day Parade

EMBED </>More News Videos

Tim Fleischer is live on the Upper West Side with the details. (WABC)

The expanded inclusion of the LGBT community marks a major milestone in the upcoming St. Patrick's Day Parade. It's been a struggle for 25 years.

As the first openly gay city council speaker, Christine Quinn, and others in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community were barred from marching in the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade. But this month, Quinn and her 89-year-old father, Lawrence Quinn, will be marching for the first time together in the parade.

It's an honor they both are looking forward to.

"Finally, after decades, it's gotten to this point where it will be inclusive, where LGBT Irish people will be able to march representing the totality of who they are," said the former speaker.

Lawrence Quinn said it will be a good experience. "We'll see how the reaction is."

His daughter described the upcoming holiday as a "really, really great St. Patrick's, different that any other experienced in my adult life."

Parade organizers have fully dropped their longstanding ban on allowing the LGBT community to march under the Lavender and Green Alliance banner.

"It was frustrating when we met with some leaders, who were very negative," said Lawrence Quinn, who marched for many years as a boy.

He and his daughter have marched in other inclusive parades, once as grand marshals, but this will be a proud moment for both father and daughter.

This year, the Quinns will be with more than 300 other people marching under the banner of the Lavender and Green Alliance, an Irish LGBT group that worked for 25 years to reverse the ban. When those efforts stalled, it founded a competing parade, called St. Patrick's For All, which marches every year in Queens and allows all groups to participate.

Brendan Fay, an alliance member, said of the inclusion, "Your historic gesture of welcome, like a miracle of hospitality, undoes the anguish and pain of exclusion and discrimination."

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell will serve as grand marshal. Mitchell, a Democrat and a primary architect of 1998's Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland, had told organizers he would not participate if LGBT groups were not permitted.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is ending his two-year boycott of the nation's largest St. Patrick's Day parade now that it has dropped the ban. He skipped the parade in 2014, when no gay groups were allowed to openly march, and he skipped it again last year, when only one small lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group was permitted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
societySt. Patrick's Dayparadenew york city newsMidtown
(Copyright ©2016 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments