Faith an' Begorrah--the Annual St. Paddy's Gay Controversy!

Feb 27, 2003, AP— Another year, another St. Patrick’s Day Parade controversy. On Thursday, a group of gay and lesbian Irish-American politicians derided Mayor Michael Bloomberg for planning to march in the annual parade even though organizers bar lesbians and gays from marching under their own banner as other groups do. “Marching in a parade that discriminates is sending a message that their behavior is acceptable,” said Councilwoman Christine Quinn. “We’re not asking for any more than any other part of the Irish New York community gets.” Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler responded: “Every parade gets to decide who it wants to invite.” The Ancient Order of Hibernians, which organizes the event, spurred controversy by allowing gays and lesbians to march, but refusing to let the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization carry a banner, as do other groups that walk the route. Each year, dozens are arrested along the parade route near St. Patrick’s Cathedral in what has evolved into a highly orchestrated symbolic protest.


Sorry, I’m with the parade organizers on this. You can’t tell them who to permit in their parade any more than you could tell the KKK that their parades must include blacks and Jews.

It would be nice, however, if the AOH realized how foolish their attitude is. But I draw the line at forcing them to do it differently.

  • Rick

Hold on here, the exclusion of homosexuals from polite society is as honorable a part of Irish heritage as flinging hand grenades at British soldiers. The AOH must up hold the tradition.

Of course, my family’s tradition is to hire poor, starving, diseased, illiterate Irish fresh off the boat as household servants at inadequate wages and to fire them when they get above them selves. We started that one in about 1850. They were the migrant laborers of the time.

Nothing to add to the debate, but I always recall that the traditional Irish-American family’s response if a son displayed “homosexual characteristics” (such as reading books or avoiding fistfights) was to push him into the priesthood, so his soul would be saved by celibacy.

I always thought it would be nice if the gays & lesbians stood on the curb wearing snakes and waving (Druid) oak branches as a sign of solidarity with St. Patrick’s other outcasts.

Well, St Patrick’s day celebrates a Catholic saint, and the Catholic Church considers homosexuallity to be morally wrong - here in the United States we have freedom of association, and if a group doesn’t want to include others with different beliefs, you shouldn’t force them too. I mean, should Gay and Lesbian Pride Parades be forced to include fudies who disagre with the purpose of the parade.

Agreed Rick, however should the mayor behave differently because the SPD parade isn’t something that is “tolerated” (like a Klan march) but is wholeheartedly endorsed as a city event?

Using the Klan as an example I’d certainly agree that they have the right to speak their minds and they don’t have to let Jews or Blacks or anyone else join their little parade, however I’d feel a bit funny if the city spent millions of dollars promoting the event and the mayor was going to ride in a float - does that level of involvement imply that the city somehow endorses the views of the organizers?

…and upon rereading the OP this isn’t really an issue of “are gays and lesbians allowed to march in the SPD parade” but “can they identify themselves as such”.

The AOH says “Sure, you can be in the parade but you can’t carry a banner saying something like Irish Gay & Lesbian Organization”.

Assuming that they let the Irish Firefighters and the Irish Plumbers and the Irish High-Energy Particle Physicists carry banners, is it OK for them to deny that to the G&L group?

On the one hand I’d say “Yes - they can pretty much set things up their way, it’s a private group”, but on the other hand the question I raised previously about how appropriate is this given the level of city involvement still seems appropriate.

so they can’t carry a banner.
aren’t there other, perhaps more um, flamboyant methods of demonstrating that they’re proud to be a) Irish and b) Gay.

i’m thinking pots of gold at the end of the rainbow (with emphasis on the rainbow) and lots of leather clad leprechauns.

because, you know, that’s MUCH better than a nice banner.

stupid ruling.

i don’t think the mayor’s office should be condoning the discrimination.

I’m sure I’m going to get nailed to a cross for this one. <sigh>

Maybe things like the sight of leather clad leprechauns is what the organizers want to avoid. The organizers might be worried that the more outrageous aspects of the Gay Pride Parades will find their way into the St. Paddy’s Day Parade.


How much money does the city pay for the parade? And is it consistent with other events - that is, if the KKK does march, does the city charge them for police protection, but let the AOH slide?

The mayor is perfectly free to march, or not, in any parade he pleases. Once again turning to my rhetorical device of the KKK, I’d say the mayor is free to march with them if he wishes, too.

I’d be curious to know what the financial situation is, exactly.

  • Rick

Ian McKellen made a joke about this on SNL-he said they don’t allow openly gay individuals to march, but they don’t seem to mind the priests? :eek:

(FWIW, I do agree it’s not exactly the nicest thing, but as an Irish Catholic, I think I’m free to laugh).

What is the big deal about the Boston Paddy’s Day parade, anyways? Why is it such a big event?

SCOTUS heard a case about gays wanting to march in the Boston parade: Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston (94-749), 515 U.S. 557 (1995)

I’m not out to Catholic-bash here, but I ran into a wickedly ironic line in a review of a play just tonight. A girl, accused of being lesbian, is sent to her parish priest for counseling. Part of the dialogue goes something like this:

Girl: I’m not a lesbian! Of course I like boys!
Father Bob (nods sagely): Doesn’t everyone?


I’m with the parade organizers. Maybe they just want a family oriented parade that doesn’t have someone literally parading any kind of sexuality around. I’m sure there won’t be a float for Irish heterosexuals either, so they should just shut their blarney holes.

A “family oriented” parade? Hey, fun idea! First, it shouldn’t have anything to do with ethnic heritage or with a Christian saint. And who defines what a “family” is – the idiots in the Cleveland area who tried to claim, a few years ago, that a grandmother was not entitled to raise her orphaned grandchildren in public housing because they didn’t constitute a “family” by the legal definition?

But at the St. Patrick’s Parade, I assume that there will be men and women who overtly live together and presumably have sex with each other, and who hold hands and might even kiss in public. The technical terms for these people are “husbands” and “wives.” I think their flaunting their sexuality at a “family-oriented” parade is nothing short of scandalous!

:smack: :smack:

Mc: Maybe they just want a family oriented parade that doesn’t have someone literally parading any kind of sexuality around.

If that’s what they think, then they should have the courage of their convictions and just refuse to let the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization march in their parade at all.

Letting them march but refusing to let them carry a banner, like all the other groups do, is just illogical. “We welcome your group’s participation in our parade, as long as you don’t let anybody know what your group is.” :confused: What’s that supposed to mean? “We have no problem with homosexuals, as long as they just stay in the closet”? Ridiculous.

but hey, we’ll know who the irish LBGT community is, because they’ll be the ones without the banner.

they’ll still stand out, no?

I’m sorry, I find the whole thing silly. If you have to find pride in the way you were born (gay AND Irish) and feel that you have to announce that by holding a plastic banner with rainbow colored shamrocks on it, well then I say poo on you. I guess I get pretty tired of the whiney pettiness of the GLBT community and its desperate need for acceptance in every single freakin’ nook and cranny in society.
Ya know what? People aren’t always going to accept you, there’s not always the need to accomodate for what gender’s holes you’re attracted to, so quit it. There are admittedly some important mountains to climb, gay marriage, gay bashing, etc. This isn’t one of 'em.
I’m gay, I’m also left-handed, that doesn’t mean that I insist on having a left-handed float in a parade with a paper-mache sex toy being stroked by a puppet-like-flower-covered left hand just to tell the world I exist.
So ya, it’s kinda crappy that the AOH won’t let you have a banner, but if ya don’t like it, start your own parade. Oh wait, there already is one. Go march in that.

Sorry if that seems rather, well, snarky. I guess I just don’t understand the necessity for people to take pride on things they have no control over. Just be who you are, not what you are.

yup totally agree stpauler.

i mean, all those people with their national flags and “proud to be a new yorker” or “proud to be american” or “proud to be whatever” stuff should be stopped.
i’m only partly joking.

because we all know that if you take nationalism or whatever too far it gets nasty.

>if ya don’t like it, start your own parade. Oh wait, there already is one. Go march in that.<


The Ancient Order of Hibernians organize the parade. If they think a banner is not appropriate, then it’s not. While I wish they didn’t feel that way, it’s not up to me (or ILGO) to decide who can march or what marchers can carry. It’s up to the organizers. It’s their parade.

This kind of rhetoric is just silly. It’s not a violation of anyone’s civil rights to say, if you march, you cannot carry a banner. Or even to say you cannot march in our parade.

And that is as it should be. We hear this whining from them every year. I’m tired of hearing them. I don’t understand. It’s not worth getting my panties in a bunch over.

I totally agree with stpauler’s post. There are big problems that need to be addressed; this is not a problem.