Speed Reads

The times they are a changin'

NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade to end ban on gay groups

An openly gay group will finally be allowed to march in New York City's century-old St. Patrick's Day Parade next year after organizers announced they were ending a controversial ban on their participation.

Parade organizers had in the past defended the ban by saying gays were free to march so long as they did so as part of other groups. But OUT@NBCUniversal, an LGBT group at the broadcasting network, will march under its own banner next year, the parade committee said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press.

The ban became a flashpoint political issue of late, with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio refusing to march this year, instead participating in a smaller, all-inclusive version of the parade in Queens.