The New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade is our country’s oldest and proudest Irish tradition, marching for the first time more than 250 years ago, on March 17, 1762 – fourteen years before the Declaration of Independence.

Once again our Councilwoman, Elizabeth Crowley, has chosen politics over principle. Organizers of the Fifth Avenue event do not allow openly gay participants to carry banners, wear pins or otherwise identify themselves as gay.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito commenting on the parade’s exclusion of openly gay participants, said that “there will be no official City Council presence at the parade, no banner and no Sergeant–at-Arms present.” Mayor Bill de Blasio also said he would not march in the parade.

Although marching in the Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s for several years, this year, Crowley said she will also boycott the parade. “As a member of the New York City Council and a proud Irish American, I support the efforts of my colleagues in trying to make the St. Patrick’s Day Parade representative of the diverse walks of life of all those who share and celebrate our heritage,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League blasted Mark-Viverito, and said her stance represents an “obscene exercise in censorship,” Donohue said the descriptions of the Fifth Avenue parade as anti-gay “a great myth,” pointing out that the event also prohibits anti-abortion signage. “The parade is not about homosexuals, or abortion, or anything other than honoring St. Patrick,” he said.

“If some contrarians sought to use the club of the law, and public pressure, to force their way into the Gay Pride Parade—insisting on banners that read, 'Straight Is Great'— they would be run out of town. So should our intolerant mayor, Bill de Blasio, and his equally intolerant sidekick, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. There can be no compromise when it comes to our First Amendment right to freedom of religion, speech, and assembly,” Donohue added.

Photo: Irish Drag Queen, Panti Bliss, and Mayor de Blasio at the “Gay Friendly” St. Pat’s for All Parade in Sunnyside. Many don't find it appropriate for the Mayor of NYC to be hanging with someone who calls themselves “Panti Bliss” as that doesn't sound very family friendly. Inset photo: Councilwoman Liz Crowley boycotted Fifth Avenue St. Patrick's Parade instead she marched in St. Pat's for All Parade in Queens.