City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced today that the City Council will not officially participate in the Manhattan St. Patrick's Day Parade on any level. The announcement comes in the wake of Mayor Bill de Blasio's commitment to boycott the parade, due to the organizers' refusal to allow LGBT groups to openly march during the event. In announcing the decision, Mark-Viverito has gone even further than her openly gay predecessor Christine Quinn.

Whereas Quinn permitted an official City Council contingent to participate in the parade, Mark-Viverito says there will be "no official City Council presence at the parade, no banner and no Sergeant-at-Arms present." Individual council members are of course permitted to participate as they wish, but Mark-Viverito argues, "The St. Patrick’s Parade should be a time when all New Yorkers can come together and march openly as who they are—but right now that is not the case for the LGBT community."

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue slammed the decision in a statement on the group's website, saying, "There is a growing contempt for tolerance and diversity in the homosexual community, and among their supporters, especially in New York... The protesters obviously loathe diversity: diversity means pluralism, a wholesale rejection of mandated, one-size-fits-all policies. What these activists want is the right to impose their agenda on Irish Catholics, neutering a day set aside to honor St. Patrick."

When de Blasio announced his decision to boycott the parade, Hilary Beirne, of the NYC St. Patricks' Day Parade organization, told the Wall Street Journal the parade isn't discriminatory and that it is a "celebration of Irish heritage and culture—nothing more, nothing less." Beirne said gays and lesbians can march—they just can't identify themselves as gay with signs. Beirner said, "There's another parade in New York City that celebrates being gay and being lesbian, and that's the Gay Pride Parade. Our parade is specifically for a celebration of our Irish heritage and our culture."

In her statement, Mark-Viverito added, "This City Council is committed to celebrating and respecting the diversity of New York City and that is why we’ve decided to not participate in the parade. I hope the organizers will eventually realize that the parade will be better when all New Yorkers can march openly and proudly."