Catholic League quits St. Patrick’s day parade over gay group inclusion

After first suggesting that he could live with the decision of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers and grand marshal Cardinal Timothy Dolan to invite a single gay group to march under their own banner, Bill Donohue, the head of the Catholic League, started wobbling and expressing some concern about it, especially his belief that gays seem to have some sort of no-pants dress code. He and has finally decided to withdraw his group from the parade altogether.

Meanwhile it is becoming increasingly clear that the decision to allow the gay group to take part has less to do with a change of heart on LGBT rights than the usual driving factor in such big events – money.

The parade repeatedly refused to lift its ban in recent years, even as New York legalized same-sex marriage. A report in the Irish Voice newspaper last week also contended that NBC, which has broadcast the parade since 1990, was preparing to drop its coverage of the event and several other corporate sponsors were likely to back out if the ban on gay marchers was not erased.

This was in addition to the boycott last year by Guinness, Samuel Adams, and Heineken. Apparently another big sponsor the Ford Motor Company was also hinting that it might drop its support unless some compromise was arrived at. It is clear that the organizers hoped that including just one gay group would satisfy its critics while the fact that these parade members would be employees of NBC would mean that their behavior could be carefully prescribed and thus avoid any acts that would inflame any anti-gay parade watchers.

I don’t know if that will work though. Even if the gay group does nothing more than have a banner with their name, some people are going to be nasty, especially given the drunkenness that characterizes the occasion. Let’s see how it goes.


  1. Ed says

    So his homophobia is more important to him than his connection to the actual Carltholic community AND his Irish heritage.

  2. culuriel says

    I think this shows the slowly decreasing of the Catholic Church’s power of Irish or Irish-American people. I work with a huge number of Irish people who were born and raised there and working here. There’s very little to no respect for the authority of the Church. It’s more of a social institution that will marry you, baptize and confirm your kids, and bury you, with associated charities to support. Cardinal Dolan grudgingly accepted the gay group’s participation, which I think is a grudging acceptance that while Catholicism is the most popular religion in Ireland, it can no longer boss Irish people around.

  3. Chiroptera says

    He and has finally decided to withdraw his group from the parade altogether.

    Wait a minute! For years they wouldn’t allow gay groups to participate but were happy to allow a hate group to participate? I guess this year the parade’s is just getting better and better!

  4. says

    I honestly do not get why gay people would want to be in this parade of sectarian intolerance, anyway. I accept some do, and definitely think they should have the right to; I don’t get why. I wouldn’t want to march with Illinois Nazis, either. Seems weird to me. Glad they got what they wanted, sorta, if we hafta, I guess, ish. Just not why they wanted it.

  5. Matt G says

    I HATE illinois Nazis! This is yet another example of people doing the right thing for the wrong reason. They don’t reflect good principles, and for better or worse, their bad principles can be bought.

  6. timberwoof says

    “I honestly do not get why gay people would want to be in this parade of sectarian intolerance, anyway.”

    Characterizing it as a “parade of sectarian intolerance” makes about as much sense as some of the things that have been said about gay pride parades. Maybe those gay people see the parade as an Irish cultural festival and identify as Irish. Maybe they also want to demonstrate that, despite what some bigoted parade organizers and Catholics say, there are gay Irish people. Maybe they just want to lend the parade some of their fabulousity.

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