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09/04/2014 11:47 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Catholic League's Bill Donohue: Gays Must Keep Pants On If Marching In St. Pat's Day Parade

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Responding to the decision by organizers of New York’s St. Patrick's Day Parade ending its ban and allowing for the first time an LGBT group to march behind its banner, Bill Donohue of Catholic League, a longtime opponent of allowing gays to march, asked, “Will the gays behave?”

“The reason I have to ask is that, unlike others,” he said in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress, “they have a tendency to act up, [not keeping] their pants on.”

Donohue, who has been opposed to gay marriage and other legal protections for LGBT people, and defended organizers in their claims that the St. Patrick's Day Parade is a Catholic event, said he now supports allowing LGBT people to march behind a banner provided his conditions are met.

“My support for the rule change is that they’ve made a formal rule change,” he said. “Now I must tell you in all honesty I have not seen the written statement on the rule change yet. So my support is conditioned on allowing pro-life Catholics to march under their banner just as the gay group can.”

And he said, if that condition is met he’d be "in favor of allowing any group to march as long as the attention is not on their cause.”

He was responding to a question about how, though the organizers are allowing Out@NBCUniversal, the employee LGBT group at NBC, whose affiliate broadcasts the parade, to march in 2015, other LGBT groups are still being barred. Groups such as the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization, which campaigned for years to be included in the parade, have been told they can “apply” in the following year.

"Here’s the hitch,” Donohue said, about allowing gays to march. “They do have dress requirements and other kinds of strictures. The question is, ‘Will the gays behave?’ Gays have been known to take their clothes off in the parade. They can’t keep their pants on sometimes when they march in the gay pride parade.”

When told that in fact the St. Patrick's Day Parade gets quite unruly, with reports of drunkenness, violence and police run-ins each year, with heterosexual people certainly not “behaving,” Donohue insisted that they still “keep our pants on,” though he acknowledged he's never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans where many heterosexuals certainly engage in sexual expression, sometimes unclothed.

“We keep our pants on,” he said. “You guys have masturbated on the street. I have pictures of what went on in the Stonewall 1994 gay pride parade that you couldn’t put on CNN or publish in The New York Times. Men and women went naked in the street in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral. I think it is a ‘wow’ when men can’t keep their pants on when they march.”

Reminded that earlier in the year, he’d dared the organizers of New York's LGBT Pride Parade to allow him to march behind the Catholic League banner, only to back off when they welcomed him, Donohue said he pulled out when they required him to go to a training session and said, “I don’t do trainings.” He said, however, if he did march, he’d keep his pants on.

“If I went to the gay pride parade,” he explained, “I insist on keeping my pants on. Why would you want me to take my pants off?”

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