Anti-gay Catholic League president Bill Donohue was left speechless this week when his provocative request to join New York's Gay Pride Parade in June was accepted by the parade organizers.
Donohue announced on Wednesday that he wanted to march in the 2014 New York City Pride Parade under a banner that would read: 'Straight is great.'
As an added provocation he told conservative talk show host Steve Malzberg he would also bring along 'a big wedding cake' if the organizers allowed him to march.
Clearly imagining he'd receive the same curt dismissal delivered to Irish gay groups by the Saint Patrick's Day committee, Donohue's stunt ran aground on Thursday when he found his application to march handily accepted.
It should be noted that Irish gay groups who want to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade have never applied to march under a banner that says: 'Gay Is Great.' Instead they simply want to celebrate their Irish heritage and their gay pride under a banner that would read: 'Irish, Gay and Proud.'
Suddenly faced with an unwelcome and unexpected contrast between the inclusive Pride Parade and the exclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade, Donohue was faced with the reality he would have to march.
But since that was apparently never his intention he backtracked on Friday, looking to save some face on the way to the exit.
It didn't take long for him to find an out. Yesterday, Donohue announced that the Pride committee's request that his organization send one representative to a safety training session before the parade amounted to what he called a 'gay training session.'
Donohue neglected to explain what exactly he meant by a 'gay training session' and those who know the Pride parade openly laughed at his spin. The mandatory training session simply discusses the logistics of the parade, informs the participants where and when to line up, and alerts them to important safety procedures - just like every other New York City parade.
Donohue's face saving exercise was especially craven critics say, given that his acceptance to Pride had torpedoed any contrast he had hoped to make with the march on Fifth Avenue.
So lets make the contrast clear for him: this was an exercise in barely concealed contempt. Donohue apparently thought his presence would be so odious that the Pride committee would have no option but to decline his application.
Instead the Pride committee showed the kind of leadership and smarts that the St. Pat's Parade and Archbishop Dolan have failed to.
Irish American GLAAD President Kate Ellis wrote on Thursday: ‘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.’
From Donohue and from the St. Pat's parade committee the rest is silence.
Here's a copy of the powerpoint document that Donohue called 'a gay training session.' Apparently Donohue fears that sound general advice on wearing sunscreen and sensible shoes could possibly turn you gay.