St. Pat's parades proceed amid tension over gays


NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio will become the first mayor in decades to sit out the city's traditional St. Patrick's Day parade over a dispute involving whether march participants can carry pro-gay signs. But Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny says he'll join the procession because the holiday is about Irishness, not sexuality.

De Blasio's decision underscores political tensions over gay rights issues in the Northeast. Boston's Mayor Martin Walsh also opted out of his city's parade Sunday after talks broke down that would have allowed a gay group to march.

Parade organizers say gay groups are not prohibited from marching, but are not allowed to carry gay-friendly signs or identify themselves as LGBT.

Across the country, tens of thousands participated in St. Patrick's Day celebrations over the weekend.

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