New York St Patrick's Day Parade and Gays

Can someone explain this to me exactly?

At first it was reported here that the parade bans gays, but later it was reported by some people that this was a generalised ban on politics generally and that lots of groups fell foul of the rules, including the NRA.

Can anyone give me the StraightDope?

Is it a rule that effects lots of groups or just gay ones?
Is it only a ban on gay banners?
What exactly is banned?

Nobody asks parade participants if they’re gay. A gay Irish-American is free to march with the Cork or Limerick or Tipperary contingents. If he’s a member of a marching band, he’s free to march with that band.

Where the parade organizers have drawn the line is in allowing a gay-themed float or a gay-themed contingent of marchers.

That is, there may be contingents of Irish-American Veterans, or Irish-American Firemen, or Irish-American Stamp Collectors, but the organizers are not allowing a contingent of Gay Irish-Americans.

It’s pure bigotry.
There are plenty of political-related groups that are allowed in the parade. The only ones that have been banned are gay ones. Openly gay ones, that is. Closeted gays are allowed in the parade.

Rather like the old military Don’t ask, Don’t tell policy. With much the same effect. Technically, that policy prohibited any illicit sex by military members. But did you ever hear of a straight sailor discharged for getting a blowjob from a woman? In practice, it only got used against gay service members. Just like this parade policy is only used to ban gay groups.

But it’s improving.
Years ago, they flat-out said gays were banned because they are degenerate and icky and decent Irishmen don’t do that. Now they at least pretend the reason is the non-political nature of the parade (ignoring the reason the parade was started in the first place!). But as this senile generation of parade management grows old and dies off, eventually the parade will treat everybody equally.

That’s not what DADT was at all. DADT was an explicitly anti-gay policy.

Wow, so… Bill Clinton (who endorsed it and signed it) was a homophobe??? And all the Democrat Senators who voted for it (like, oh, Harry Reid, Barbara Mikulski, John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Herb Kohl, Daniel Inouye)?

The word homophobe is pretty loaded, but basically, yes, all of the people you listed were endorsing a policy that was horribly anti-gay in intent and practice. It’s only the first of many reasons that I started to despise Bill Clinton.

What people are forgetting is that DADT, as bad as it was, was a lot better than the policy that existed previously. Previously, a person could be accused of being gay with no evidence, given the third degree and given a dishonorable discharge, or worse. The “don’t ask” part meant that people could no longer be accused of being gay, and the “don’t tell” part meant that people couldn’t be forced to reveal their sexuality. Yes, DADT shouldn’t have existed in the first place, but considering how attitudes were in the 90s, it was a necessary step in the right direction.

Oh great, now someone will accuse me of being homophobic. :rolleyes:

I agree and was going to add this to my post, but wasn’t sure if it was relevant. The advancement of gay rights has not been…damn, I was going to say “straightforward” but didn’t want to make a bad pun…“a direct line.” I still remember the announcement of DADT, and how absolutely furious I was with what I saw as a weaselly, nasty, ultimately anti-gay approach, and with the people who endorsed it (especially you, Bill!) Even though it may have been a necessary step toward full integration, it just thoroughly offended me. But in hindsight I can see how it fit into the overall advancement of gay rights, and I would never call you a homophobe. I still think the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day parade are being homophobic, and I will still never, ever forgive Bill, for so many, many things.

I’m curious, having heard about this, when the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade (or other Irish in Ireland ones) started allowing gay groups to have floats. Homosexuality was only legalised in Ireland 21 years ago.

Oh, gosh, it was in 1992, when the New York parade was tying itself in knots about this very issue, that a lesbian group won the “best new entry” award in the Cork parade. (They entered, if I recall correctly, specifically to express solidarity with lesbians and gays excluded from the New York parade). Lesbian and gay groups have participated in St Patrick’s Day parades in major Irish cities regularly since then, AFAIK.

I don’t know if the parade organisers in Ireland ever had bans on gay or lesbian groups; I certainly don’t remember any fuss about it. It may well be the case that, the first time such a group applied to participate, they were accepted.

And it parallels the progress of homosexuality’s classification as a mental illness. The guy who pushed for its inclusion into the DSM did so because it codified the medical view that homosexuality was not a choice. It was one step forward from the previous view that gay people were degenerates engaging in deliberate perversions who ought to be locked up. Of course, a few decades later the view that gay people are just crazy was itself seen as the discriminatory (and medically dubious) position that it was, and it was then removed from the DSM. Sometimes the intermediate steps, horrible though they are, are better than what came before and necessary to get to what comes after.

Which has nothing to do with the St Paddy’s Day Parade.

My understanding was that pre-DADT, the military would question recruits about their sexual orientation and admitting homosexuality was grounds for not being permitted to enlist. If a person was homosexual and lied to be admitted, a later discovery would be grounds for a discharge, not only for the homosexuality, but for lying in the admissions process.

Clinton promised a full repeal of the ban on gays in the military, but the backlash lead to DADT.

DADT was a compromise measure. The military no longer asked a recruit’s sexual orientation. The flip side was that the recruit/soldier was not to tell anyone his orientation. So gays could now serve in the military so long as they kept it secret.

To call DADT “homophobic” is a bit shortsighted as it was an improvement over prior policy.