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Gay group to march in NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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Gays to march in NY St. Pat paradeA gay group will march under its own banner for the first time in the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, organizers said Wednesday.

The prohibition on identified gay groups in the centuries-old New York parade had made participation a political issue. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to march this year, and Guinness beer dropped its sponsorship.

The parade committee, in a statement made available to The Associated Press, said Wednesday that OUT@NBCUniversal, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource group at the company that broadcasts the parade, would be marching up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on March 17 under an identifying banner.

Craig Robinson, executive vice president and chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal, said the group had applied to march, but there was no immediate word on why the group was chosen.

“We welcome the parade committee’s decision to accept OUT(at)NBCUniversal’s application to march and enthusiastically embrace the gesture of inclusion,” Robinson said. “Our employees, families and friends look forward to joining in this time-honored celebration of Irish culture and heritage.”

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