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Bratton: I Can March in St. Pat's and Adore Gays

Friday, February 28, 2014

WNYC

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said marching in the annual St Patrick's Day parade next month doesn’t mean he’s ambivalent about gay rights.

After a police promotions ceremony on Friday, he said he’s been a supporter of gay rights for decides.

"In my own family, my sister is gay — married in Boston, so I am very comfortable with where I am on gay issues,” declared Bratton. “The St. Patrick's Parade for me is a celebration of heritage; it's that simple.”  

Bratton won't be marching with the Mayor, the City Council Speaker or the Public Advocate along Fifth Avenue, however. Some city officials are boycotting the annual Irish-themed event; they say they’re doing so because it unfairly discriminates against gay groups. Parade rules prohibit groups from carrying signs that identify them as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has no problem with Bratton marching, since it's "his right as an American citizen." De Blasio is scheduled to speak and march in the “St Pat’s for All Parade” in Queens on Sunday.

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Comments [1]

Emmaia Gelman from NYC

Bratton's gay sister is not NYPD policy. NYPD policy is what he does with the police force -- like march them in uniform in their thousands in a huge bigoted event, over the protests of the LGBTQ community.

Likewise, Mayor de Blasio is wrong when he says there's some "American right" for cops to join anti-gay events. There is not. Instead, there is a NYC human rights law that says the police may not act in biased ways that make communities view them as "more oppressor than protector." (That language is from Pappas v. Giuliani - where the City fought to fire a cop for exactly such biased behavior.)

It's also important to note that the right to carry "gay pride signs" is not what's at issue -- it's the right for Irish LGBTQ groups to march with a banner, like all other marchers. The organizers also ban any indication at all that a marcher is other-than-straight. This is not about the right to turn St. Patrick's parade into a gay pride march, but to turn it back into an *Irish* march that does not exclude Irish LGBTQ people.

Mar. 01 2014 02:26 PM

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