The New York parade does not discriminate, gays are welcome


Why is no one from the parade out there putting forth the truth that gays can march in the same way that every other participant marches?

This is no time for silence. Look what happens in its place. Vultures like new City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate Letitia James swoop in and use the “exclusionary” parade to pander to their base by asking de Blasio to ban city workers from marching in uniform.

Please. As if these two really give a damn about the Irish. Imagine if the cops and firefighters were barred from marching in uniform? The parade would turn into a riot.

De Blasio clearly recognized that, but how disturbing is it to note that this is now what passes for leadership in New York – far-left politicians equating gay rights with a cop’s right to march on Fifth Avenue in uniform. Ugh.

Though I firmly feel that the New York City parade doesn’t discriminate against gays, for many reasons the parade committee must take a fresh look at the gay banner issue and reach a compromise.

There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s not going anywhere for a while. The de Blasio administration could get very stingy with the necessary parade permits next year, and maybe take other steps to curtail the march.

There’s also the matter of how the Irish in New York are portrayed come St. Patrick’s Day – as a bunch of conservative bigots who won’t let gays march in their parade. That’s not who we are at all, but that’s the perception seeping out there.

What’s the headline we’ll be seeing on March 18? “Pols, Gays Boycott Parade.” Until there’s some common ground reached on the issue, you can kiss the “Irish Pride” coverage goodbye.

Even politicians in Ireland are being sucked into the controversy. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny says he’ll march in New York, while another visiting minister, Joan Burton, says she’ll pass, even though she participated a few years ago. They must be thinking that the annual government visit to New York is becoming more of a headache than a pleasure.

So while the parade committee has its work cut out, it’s incumbent that gay Irish Americans come together and meet them halfway. I’d love to see a positive, proactive, year-round gay Irish organization take its rightful place in both our community and the Fifth Avenue line of march.

Perhaps Brendan Fay’s group in Queens could be broadened into a bigger mission; I don’t know. But the Irish American gay presence in our community should be just as pronounced as the GAA, the IBO and so on. And right now, it’s not.

The new group would apply for permission to march with its banner and pledge to abide by parade rules. The parade committee would be foolish in the extreme to say no. In fact I’d say they wouldn’t have much of a choice.

I’d be delighted to show support for such a group by marching behind its banner. I’d even make my daughter do the same. I don’t think she’d wear pink like Colin’s little girl, but we’d have a great day out all the same.

Read more: New York St. Patrick’s parade no place for my child