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Mayor De Blasio To March In Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio may not be strolling down Fifth Avenue on March 17 but he will be in Queens on Sunday to lead another Saint Patrick's Day parade.

According to a tweet from the mayor's office, de Blasio will deliver remarks and march in the St. Pat's For All parade in Queens.

Founder and co-chair of St. Pat's For All parade, Brendan Fay, told 1010 WINS the parade welcomes the presence of the LGBT community and signage is allowed.

"No groups are treated any differently than the other. They bring their banners identifying who they are and that's all LGBT Irish groups ever sought on Fifth Avenue," Fay said.

Fay is an Irish immigrant who is openly gay. He said he was arrested at three previous parades in New York City for being openly gay before he founded St. Pat's For All.

Mayor de Blasio announced earlier this month that he would not participate in the Fifth Avenue St. Patrick's Day parade because of organizers' refusal to allow participants to carry gay-pride signs.

"I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city and the contributions of Irish Americans, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in this city," the mayor said.

St. Pat's For All touts its parade as progressive, and Fay said he hopes the spirit spreads across the city.

"Our parade reflects that shift and change. And I hope for Fifth Avenue and other parades in New York City that the story becomes not whom they exclude or those who are not allowed in with their banners, but actually like St. Pat's For All, become known for welcoming everybody," Fay said.

Fay said de Blasio's choice not to march on Fifth Avenue defines what it means to be a leader.

"I think the mayor sent a tremendous and effective message by taking a stand that he would not march on St. Patrick's Day on Fifth Avenue. And instead by his leading our parade is saying that really this is the model for Irish parades in New York," Fay said.

The City Council also recently said it would not participate in the Fifth Avenue parade. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the council won't have an official presence, but individual council members were welcome to march if they chose to do so.

New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton, who is Irish-American, said on Thursday that he would be marching down Fifth Avenue.

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