The organizers of the Staten Island St. Patrick's Day parade went on a last-minute banning spree of anyone wearing rainbows at the event Sunday.
City Councilman Joe Borelli told the Staten Island Advance that he was physically prevented from marching in the parade after organizers spied a wee rainbow flag pin on his jacket.
"They [the parade marshals] physically blocked me, my wife and two boys in strollers," Borelli told the Advance. “They called the police on me. I spoke to a sergeant and was not going to make the life of our cops more complicated to prove a point. ...I didn’t come with it looking for an argument; my friends handed a pin to me. I really didn’t think it was a big affront to the Irish."
Borelli said he received the pin from his friends at the Pride Center of Staten Island, including the center's Executive Director Carol Bullock.
Miss Staten Island, who revealed in the New York Post that she is bisexual, was uninvited as well -- pageant winner Madison L'Insalata told ABC7 that organizers banned her from marching, citing safety concerns.
"It seems that it might have more to do with me coming out as bi, and my wearing my rainbow scarf that I have here, and them not being okay with that," L'Insalata said.
She said she had marched in previous years and had planned to wear her rainbow scarf after the parade organizers once again rejected the applications of local LGBTQ groups to march.
The local chapter of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, the Irish Catholic fraternal group that organizes the event, denied the applications by the Pride Center of Staten Island and the Gay Officer’s Action League to march in the parade.
In what the Post called a "beauty-queen rebellion," Miss Staten Island’s Outstanding Teen, Angelica Mroczek, and Miss Richmond County, Gabrielle Ryan, were already boycotting the parade over the ban on LGBTQ groups.
Two high school marching bands were also forced to leave the parade route for wearing rainbow stickers, the Advance reported.
Larry Cummings, parade president of the Richmond County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee (under the local Ancient Order of the Hibernians chapter), last week told the Advance that the parade was a "non-sexual identification parade." Cummings has previously said that allowing parade-goers to march under a gay pride banner "promotes the homosexual lifestyle."
Cummings, Borelli and L'Insalata could not be reached immediately for comment Monday.
The parade's stance led to boycotts by several elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congressman Max Rose and the Borough President James Oddo. Councilmember Debi Rose asked the Department of Education to allow students to skip participating if they choose:
The country's largest St. Patrick's Day parades, including the Manhattan parade, all permit LGBTQ groups to participate.
“Staten Island is the last holdout in the city,” Brian Downey, a detective with the New York Police Department who serves as president of the gay officers group’s New York chapter, told the New York Times. “We are in the parade in Queens, we are in the parade in Manhattan, we are in the parade in Brooklyn. Let us join the parade on Staten Island.”
Even the Archdiocese of New York and the national Ancient Order of the Hibernians have washed their hands of the Staten Island contingent and refused to weigh in on the parade.
"Tough guys couldn’t contend with a half-inch pin,” Borelli told the Advance.
Oddo is already making alternate plans for 2021: