Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was the highest profile city official to march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on Monday, since others in the de Blasio administration chose to stay away in protest. The parade forbids LGBT people from carrying signs or wearing paraphernalia that identifies them as gay or transgender.
Bratton marched up Fifth Avenue flanked by his wife and thousands of police officers in their dress blues. He was welcomed by cheers from the crowd, until he passed a contingent protesting the parade's ban on groups who want to march with pro-gay signage.
Bratton said he chose to attend — despite even the Mayor's decision not to march — because of the department's long history of participation in the parade. He was marching, he said, "to celebrate the great traditions of the Irish and the NYPD.”
Bratton added that he remains a staunch supporter of gay rights and predicted the event would become more inclusive in the years to come.