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Mayor Bill de Blasio to march in St. Patrick’s Day parade after gay ban dropped

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NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s ending his two-year boycott of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade now that it has fully dropped its longstanding ban on allowing gay groups to march under their own banners.

The first-term Democratic mayor told The Associated Press on Wednesday he’ll take part in the 255-year-old parade for the first time. The parade will flow up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

De Blasio skipped the parade in 2014, when no gay groups were allowed to openly march. He skipped it again last year, when one small lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group was permitted.

Parade chairman John Lahey says he wants this year’s parade to be the “most inclusive parade ever.”