UPDATE, 10:17 p.m., March 1, 2019: Staten Island Borough President James Oddo and Rep. Max Rose announced Friday afternoon that they now will not march in this weekend's St. Patrick's Day Parade.


STATEN ISLAND - When Staten Island's St. Patrick's Day Parade kicks off Sunday, State Assemblyman Michael Cusick will be marching.

"It's a tradition for me; it's a tradition for many people and for me it's a celebration of my culture and my heritage," Cusick said.

Also a tradition at the Parade: Organizers banning the borough's largest LGBT advocacy group, the Pride Center of Staten Island, from taking part.

For decades, gays and lesbians also were banned from marching with identifying buttons or banners in the Manhattan St. Patrick's Day Parade - triggering years of boycotts by politicians and protests - until the parade became inclusive three years ago.

But on Staten Island, most local politicians - Republicans and Democrats - are marching in the local parade despite its LGBT ban.

"They're probably not being pushed enough by interest groups or civic leaders to make that jump; they're not being called out on it," said College of Staten Island Political Science Professor Richard Flanagan.

Congressman Max Rose, a Democrat, and a potential challenger, Republican Assemblywoman Nicole  Malliotakis, tell NY1 they will march. So will District Attorney Michael McMahon.

When asked whether it is hypocritical to march despite voicing support for the LGBT center, all declined comment.

Only one official we contacted said they would stay away because the parade is not inclusive: City Councilwoman Debi Rose.

Borough President James Oddo did not comment.

Councilman Joe Borelli said he will be attending a birthday party at the same time of the parade.

"This isn't a do or die issue for most Staten Islanders. And as a consequence, the pressure to change  isn't as intense as a lot of other big cities," Flanagan said.  

The head of the Pride Center, Carol Bullock, says parade organizer Larry Cummings told her that marching under the center's banner "promoted the homosexual lifestyle." Still, she says she is not seeking a boycott even though many people, even strangers, have asked her to.  

"My conversation back with them has been, this year I want to be respectful," Bullock said.  

Every year before the parade kicks off, a VIP party is held at Jody's Club Forest. Bullock was invited, and plans to attend before she takes in a bit of the parade from the sidelines.

She says she hopes this is the last year she and her group will have to watch from afar.