Parade Marches Backwards
New York Times
February 24, 2014
I have long been opposed to gays marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue.
It isn’t because my father was a past national president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which ran the parade for a century and started the rule that no gays need apply. Faith and begorrah, heaven knows I have nothing against gays. I have something against Irish parades.
It has just always seemed strange to me that gays were fighting so hard for so long to bust into such a hoary, boozy, corny tradition. Didn’t they have something more fun and cool to do?
I was traumatized by a parade as a child when I was awakened one morning on a family trip to a Hibernian convention in St. Louis by a band loudly playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.” My sister, brother and I raced to the window and saw our parents leading a march of Hibernians from Mass to breakfast at our hotel. It was mortifying to a child. I still can’t hear that song without wincing.
But certainly, if gays want in, they should get in. And that’s why Mayor Bill de Blasio is right to blow off the parade in protest of the Putinesque restrictions.
De Blasio, who has said his mother was raised a Catholic but did not bring him up in the church, is being joined in the boycott by his mini-me, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. The Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, is coming, but one of his cabinet members has refused to march.
Some New York liberals and elected officials pressed the mayor to bar uniformed police and firefighters from marching, but de Blasio, perhaps fearing a shellacking with a shillelagh, demurred. The mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh, also vowed not to march in his city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade if banner-waving gays are banned, although he’s being more conciliatory than de Blasio, working to broker a deal.
Despite taunts by the Catholic League’s wacky Bill Donohue and Fox News’s tacky Sean Hannity — who berated “Comrade de Blasio” for “being prejudiced toward people’s deeply held fundamental religious belief” — the mayor will keep squeezing until organizers fold. At this point the parade is as insanely antediluvian as Arizona lawmakers who passed a bill allowing businesses to discriminate against gay customers on “religious” grounds. Bonkers.
Read Maureen Dowd's entire piece at the New York Times
Past St. Patrick's Day Parade photos are viewable here.