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City Council Members Continue Boycott Of St. Patrick's Day Parade

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Irish and LGBT community groups and a number of elected officials are continuing their boycott of the St. Patrick's Day parade in spite of a concession by the event's organizers.

After major sponsors pulled their support, organizers of the Manhattan parade announced in September that they are ending a ban and allowing a gay group to march under its own banner for the first time.

Some gay rights activists have called the parade's invitation to OUT@NBCUniversal — a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender support group at the company that broadcasts the parade — a publicity stunt aimed at bringing back its sponsors.

City Council Members Continue Boycott Of St. Patrick's Day Parade

"The issue has never been about having a gay group in the parade -- it has always been about having an Irish gay group in the parade," openly gay Council Member Dan Dromm said Tuesday. "For the parade organizers to try to pull this trickery by allowing an organization called Out@NBC to march in the parade is not a solution, it's not an answer."

"It is clear that last year's decision was just to placate the parade sponsors," said Council Member Rosie Mendez. "Until my Irish queer brothers and sisters can march in this parade, I will not be marching at all."

The City Council and its speaker will not march in this year's parade, Dromm said.

"Until the St. Patrick's Day Parade is really and truly inclusive of all I will not march in it," City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement. "Half measures will not suffice for a parade that should be open to everyone regardless of who they are or whom they love.  It is my hope that someday soon parade organizers will realize that a more inclusive parade will be a better parade and will finally allow LGBTQ groups to march under their own banners. Proud Irish New Yorkers should not be forced to hide their identities - period."

"Let's just end this and let's move and let's let the Irish LGBT community march in this parade," Dromm said.

City Council Members Continue Boycott Of St. Patrick's Day Parade

Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to announce whether he will march in the parade. Last year, de Blasio became the first mayor in decades to skip the parade over the ban on participants carrying gay-pride signs. The City Council also declined to have any official presence at the event, and beer makers Guinness and Heineken pulled their sponsorships.

The Catholic League announced in September it won't participate in the parade because no pro-life groups were chosen to march.

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