Friday's historic Supreme Court ruling makes same sex marriage legal in all 50 states. But not all observers are celebrating this weekend.

Every Republican presidential candidate has bemoaned the ruling as a judicial overreach, but most are said to be privately relieved the issue has been taken off the table for 2016.

So the question isn't when – but how – conservative political leaders will move on from this incendiary issue to ones where they can be assured of gaining more political traction.

Which brings us back to our own intractable gay rights battle: the ongoing feud over gay groups marching in our New York Saint Patrick's Day parade.

After World War II Winston Churchill noticed that the Irish had a remarkable capacity to keep a feud running long, long after its expiration date.

“The whole map of Europe has been changed,” he wrote, “but as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.”

His exasperation is shared by modern day observers contemplating the disastrous legacy of the New York Parade Committee. How is it that they keep on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, critics ask?

Supporters of parade Chairman John Dunleavy – and indeed the Chairman himself – are more and more beginning to resemble the legendary Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda, the man who kept on fighting World War II for 30 years after it ended.

Recall that on December 26, 1944, Onoda was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines. Less than a year later he and his fellow troops received word the war had ended, but they simply could not accept that Japan had lost.

Years passed. They hid out in the trees. Four remaining soldiers lived on in the sweltering jungle, raiding the local villages for food and crops.

But over time they began to notice that everyone was wearing civilian clothing again, until they decided this was a canny ruse by the Allies to lure them away from the safety of the trees.

Eventually one by one each soldier slipped away to rejoin the world or died in violent skirmishes with the natives.

Not Onoda, though. He kept his uniform in immaculate condition and he pursued his mission for almost 30 years, finally emerging from the jungle in 1974 – to learn that Japan had lost the war, and that he had wasted 30 years of his life fighting phantoms.

That's a cautionary tale the parade committee would do well to reflect on carefully. In their mania to stick it to a once disfavored minority they haven't noticed that the fight they once unwisely picked has been comprehensively and utterly lost.

They may hide among the trees, they may keep their bright sashes as immaculate as Onoda's, but the real world has already passed them all by. If they keep it up all they’ll be remembered for is obstinate foolishness too.




John Dunleavy, chairman of the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade committee.