The President of The Catholic League says he is “delighted” that New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio will not be marching in this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. Bill Donohue made the remark after De Blasio said he would boycott the event because organizers will not allow participants to carry gay pride signs.
The head of the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization explained that he did not want to march with any public official who do not want to be associated with Irish Catholics. Donohue asserted that the parade honors the Catholic Saint Patrick and that it is not a political parade. Pro-life signs are also prohibited. “The parade is not about homosexuals, or abortion, or anything other than honoring St. Patrick,” the Catholic league said in a press release. Parade planners have said gays are welcome to join the procession, which is expected to draw more than one million people on March 17.
Donohue has gone on the radio to dispel the myth that the parade is anti-gay. “I have invited gays to march with the Catholic League, provided they do not draw attention to themselves or to some extrinsic cause,” the News release further states.
On Tuesday, the newly elected mayor said at a City Hall press conference, “I am not planning on marching in the parade. I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade.”
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will be joining the mayor by sitting out during the parade. She applauded the mayor for the “very bold step and decision” to stand up for gay rights. She added, “I have an incredibly strong trajectory of being a strong ally on issues regarding social justice and equity for the LGBTQ community, so I will definitely not march.”
Also supporting De Blasio is openly gay City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), who was arrested at the 2000 St. Patrick’s parade for carrying a gay pride banner. “I find it offensive that the parade takes a formal and hard line that I can’t participate,” Van Bramer said. “That literally shuts out huge portions of our city.”
On the other hand, City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) expressed disappointment that the mayor is not marching. “Mayor De Blasio’s decision not to march in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is truly unfortunate and disappointing,” he said. “I am hoping Mayor de Blasio will reconsider his decision and participate in one of New York’s most time-honored traditions.”