Catholic advocacy group drops out of St. Patrick's Day Parade

For the first time in 20 years, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights will not march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Thousands attended the 253rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade along Fifth Avenue in New York City on March 17, 2014. Some members of LGBT community protested the exclusion of their community from the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  Credit: Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Thousands attended the 253rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade along Fifth Avenue in New York City on March 17, 2014. Some members of LGBT community protested the exclusion of their community from the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Credit: Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

 

For the first time in 20 years, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights will not march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

 

 

On Thursday, the league's president Bill Donohue released a statement that the decision to protest the festivities in Feburary comes after what he said negotiations with parade organizers fell through.

 

Donohue on Tuesday decried the news that local gay organizations will be allowed to march under their own banner unless the rules also allow for a pro-life Catholic group to participate. His decision to withdraw him and about 200 league members had nothing to do "with gays," Dolan wrote, but rather with the parade committee's alleged betrayal.

"They not only told me one thing, and did another," he added, "they decided to include a gay group that is neither Catholic nor Irish while stiffing pro-life Catholics. This is as stunning as it is indefensible."

Metro was unable to reach parade spokesman, William O'Reilly, who told the Wall Street Journal via e-mail that a pro-life organization was also welcome to apply to the parade, but that none applied before they cut off requests.

"The parade is jammed packed," O'Reilly to the Journal. "There has to be a cutoff point."

On Sept. 3, parade planners unveiled both its 2014 grand marshall as Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the parade's first gay organization: OUT@NBCUniversal, an employee group for LGBT staffers at NBCUniversical, which airs the parade.

"I have no trouble with the decision at all," Dolan said at the time.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer all sat out from the parade down Fifth Avenue in protest of the organizers long-standing ban of pro-gay signs.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter@chestersoria

 
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