Almost no one wanted to march in this year's New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Not Mayor Bill de Blasio. Not City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Not most of the New York City Council. Even big parade sponsors like Guinness backed out. Why? Because, like so many years before, the parade's organizers wouldn't let LGBT groups openly march under their own banner.
This all made anti-gay Catholic League President Bill Donohue very angry. He stopped drinking Guinness (take that, Guinness!), and lashed out at de Blasio and Mark-Viverito, calling them "intolerant." He also concocted a foolproof idea to get back at all those pesky LGBT activists who mucked up his perfectly good St. Paddy's parade.
Donohue told conservative talk show host Steve Malzberg Wednesday that he's applied to march in this June's New York City Gay Pride Parade while carrying a banner that reads "Straight is Great!" If the Gay Pride people were to reject his application, Donohue's argument seemed to go, then they would be hypocrites. Hypocrites!
"Are they going to let me do it or not? I’m waiting to see what they want to say,” Donohue said. He then explained how organizers of the annual pride parade, which is on June 29 this year, require marchers to carry LGBT signs. “All right, you can disagree with their rules, but that’s their parade," Donohue said. "Why don’t they respect us when it comes to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade?”
Well, congrats Bill Donohue. You have been accepted into this year's Gay Pride Parade!
“Mr. Donohue and his group are free to participate in the 2014 March," David Studinski, March Director of NYC Pride, said in a statement. "His group’s presence affirms the need for this year’s Pride theme, ‘We Have Won When We’re One.’ Straight is great – as long as there’s no hate.”
“Straight allies are great," added NYC Pride managing director Chris Frederick. "We have thousands of straight people participating in the Pride March, including Catholic groups, who support LGBT youth, families and married couples.”
The gist of NYC Pride's response seems to be, "Yea you can march, Bill. Just don't be a jerk."
And for the record, when it comes to gay rights, Bill Donohue has a history of intolerance. He calls marriage equality "one of the most bizarre ideas in human history," equating it with apartheid. He says AIDS is "self-inflicted," and in the mid-90s, suggested the virus was a punishment for those who violated God's "natural order." He also once said this: "Yes, there’s a connection between Irish and alcoholism, and, yes, there’s a connection between homosexuality and sexual abuse of minors."
Anyway, let's hope Donohue actually shows up to the parade this June. He'll see what a wonderful event it is, and understand how welcoming, warm, and kind New York's LGBT community can be.
GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis has issued a more personal invitation to Donohue. “As a fellow Irish New Yorker, I'm hoping Bill will march with me at NYC Pride," Ellis said. "I look forward to the day when I can march openly with Bill in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade, and not be turned away because of who I am."