Irish Big Wigs Denounce New York's Gay-Unfriendly Parade

New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade excludes LGBT groups, and (some) Irish leaders aren't having it.

The organizers of the big Fifth Avenue St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City prohibit any LGBT groups from marching under their own banner. The parade is organized by a private nonprofit group (it's called the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade; it's a registered nonprofit organization) so the policy is apparently legal, but it's clearly discriminatory.

And Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore isn't having it:

"What these parades are about is a celebration of Ireland and Irishness. I think they need to celebrate Ireland as it is, not as people imagine it. Equality is very much the center of who we are in our identity in Ireland."

"This issue of exclusion is not Irish, let's be clear about it. Exclusion is not an Irish thing..... I think that's the message that needs to be driven home."


Similarly, back in September, Irish President Mary McAleese declined an invitation to be the grand marshal at this year's New York City parade—apparently because of the exclusionary policy.

This policy is especially troubling since members of the NYPD do march in the parade in their official capacity. That amounts to a tacit approval of the exclusion policy on the part of the police department, if not the city.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user momentcaptured1