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The U.S.'s largest celebration of Irish heritage had the streets of midtown Manhattan awash in green Thursday as thousands marched up Fifth Avenue for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.A year after a limited easing of the parade's prohibition on gay groups, organizers opened the lineup more broadly to include activists who protested the ban for years. The sponsorships resumed when parade organizers opened a door to gay groups last year, allowing a contingent from parade sponsor NBCUniversal.Meanwhile, Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade ended a ban on gay groups that organizers had successfully defended at the Supreme Court. Against that backdrop, New York St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers said they'd add a second gay group this year to the parade ranks: the Lavender and Green Alliance, which had long protested the gay-group ban.
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