Bill Donohue Won’t March in NY Pride After All

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Mar 24, 2014

New York City's Gay Pride Organizers are allowing Catholic League head Bill Donohue to march in the annual event while holding a sign that reads, "Straight is Great!" after he complained that it would be hypocritical of the entire LGBT community if organizers of Pride didn't allow him to walk. Donohue cited LGBT activists who called out officials from New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade who denied LGBT people from marching openly. But it doesn't look like Donohue will march after all, according to a statement posted to the Catholic League's website:

"I asked to join the parade under a banner that would read, 'Straight is Great.' The purpose of my request was to see just how far they would go without forcing me to abide by their rules. It didn't take long before they did. Today, I informed Heritage of Pride officials that I objected to their rule requiring me to attend gay training sessions, or what they call 'information sessions. 'I don't agree with your rule,' I said. They responded by saying that attendance was 'mandatory.' The St. Patrick's Day parade has mandatory rules, too. It bars groups representing their own cause from marching, which is why pro-life Catholics-not just gays-are barred from participating under their own banner. But only gays complain: they refuse to abide by the rules. Indeed, they went into federal court seeking to force a rule change. They lost. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that private parades have a First Amendment right to determine their own rules. It is hypocritical for gay activists to complain about having to abide by the mandatory rules of the St. Patrick's Day parade, and then inform me that I cannot march in their parade unless I respect their mandatory rules, rules that I reject. Good luck to the Heritage of Pride participants. I may be watching it from afar, but I sure won't be downing a Guinness afterwards."

Donohue's announcement comes just days after NYC Pride officials welcomed him to the event.

"Mr. Donohue and his group are free to participate in the 2014 March," David Studinski, March Director of NYC Pride, said."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 Federick. "We have thousands of straight people participating in the Pride March, including Catholic groups, who support LGBT youth, families and married couples."

Even GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis welcomes Donohue to march in the parade.

"As a fellow Irish New Yorker, I'm hoping Bill will march with me at NYC Pride. 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," she said in a statement.

In another attempt to stick it to the LGBT community, Donohue has urged Catholics to boycott Guinness, which pulled out of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade as a sponsor because the organizers barred LGBT people from marching openly.

"Gays have never been barred from marching in any St. Patrick's Day parade -- they simply cannot march under their own banner. Neither can pro-life Catholics. The message of the St. Patrick's Day parade is simple: it is to honor St. Patrick. It is not about any other cause. That's why we have parades that celebrate other causes: it's called respect for diversity," the Catholic League's boycott statement reads in part.

"Guinness is showing its disrespect for diversity, its support for intolerance, and its contempt for the First Amendment rights of everyone associated with the St. Patrick's Day parade," he continued. "Make no mistake about it, Guinness chose to boycott this parade because of its quintessentially Catholic nature: radicals who hate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church fingered this parade because of its religious significance. If Guinness reinstates its sponsorship of New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, this campaign will end. Until it does, I support the Catholic League's boycott of Guinness."


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