What’s Really Holding Back St. Patrick’s Day Parade Organizers

A school’s decision not to march gets at the blunt reasons for excluding LGBT groups from identifying themselves at the parade.

Martin Walsh

Associated Press

It’s that time of year when Boston’s right-minded folks shake our heads at the stated excuses for excluding LGBT groups from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. With parade organizers finally negotiating with leaders of the gay community to find a resolution, the attempts at reason have grown even louder.

Even this year, parade organizers say they don’t want LGBT groups to wear T-shirts or hold signs that refer to sexual orientation because, as the Globe puts it, “they say it does not fit with the parade’s Irish and military themes.”

In her Herald column calling for an outright end to the parade, Margary Eagan waves those excuses away. Forget “Irish themes” because Ireland is a country where a majority supports gay marriage and the law bans discrimination against gay people. And don’t blame the U.S. military, because even they have done away with a policy of “you can march with us as long as you don’t identify yourself.” Why should a veteran-organized group espouse such a thing?

But of course, vague reliances on Irish heritage and military values are just kinder ways of saying what’s really motivating the parade organizers.  “Parade organizers said their concessions have had repercussions,” the Globe reports. “A band from a small central Massachusetts school that had participated in the parade for more than two decades threatened to pull out if MassEquality is allowed to march.”

Indeed, Brother Thomas Dalton wrote in a press release that the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Harvard “… does not condone and will not appear to condone the homosexual lifestyle.” They have decided not to march:

“We must stand firm with the Church which states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, that ‘homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity’ and ‘are intrinsically disordered …Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

Here, of course, is the real reason for keeping homosexuals out of the parade: It is not an issue of thematic unity, but one of religious objection to even sharing a street with gay people. It inspired this epic zinger from Globe columnist Kevin Cullen: “I hate to break it to Brother Thomas, but I’ve seen intrinsically disordered acts of grave depravity on and off Broadway during and after some parades, and none of them involved homosexuals.” Cullen preaches following Pope Francis’s advice to soften the church’s tone on divisions over sexuality. Based on the tenor of conversation surrounding what might be historic progress on an issue that many wish were already relegated to history…this doesn’t seem to be the year for softened tones.

  • Mumbles

    Everything in this article is correct. But what is also correct is that the organizers of this parade need no excuse to exclude whoever they want in their parade. Full stop. And if gay groups want to keep Wacko Hurley from marching in their parade (as if, but work with me on the hypo), they are free to do that as well. Okay, so Wacko won’t be marching in the Pride Parade, but what about those groups who claim to use “therapy” to “cure” gays – wouldn’t the Pride parade organizers want to be able to exclude them?

    Here’s another question. Has this gay group ever marched in another Saint Patrick’s Day parade? Have they ever applied for a permit for their own St. Patrick’s parade? Do they care that much about celebrating the holiday – or are they more interested in provocation and instigation? Nothing wrong with wanting to provoke or instigate – but be honest about it.

    • David Hamburger

      Just because the parade has the legal right to exclude people doesn’t make it right for them to do so.

      Westboro Baptist Church has the legal right –as decided by the same Supreme Court — to protest at military funerals. That doesn’t make their protests any less bigoted and horrible.

      • Mumbles

        Well, the government is only concerned with what is legal, not what is “right.” The parade organizers don’t think that homosexuality is right either, but they can’t do anything about it.

        But I’m still curious whether any of the gays who are so eager to march in this parade care one whit about Irish heritage and if they do, how they’ve demonstrated it before. Or are they more interested in upsetting the Southie old-timers?

        • Scott

          Actually, the people who wanted to march in the parade were Gay and Irish. That was the point.

          • Mumbles

            First of all, I find it hard to believe all of them are Irish. And you don’t seem to understand my point. In all the years that they have been denied participation in this parade, have they participated in any other Saint Patrick’s day activities, or applied for their own parade permit? They could have easily had their own all-inclusive St Patrick’s parade on another day, but they did not. That’s why I question the sincerity of this group. Seems to me that they are less interested in celebrating their purported Irish heritage, and more interested in irritating Hurley and other old Southie residents who don’t approve of homosexuality (whether or not you agree with that, it is their right to feel that way.)

          • B Russell

            Do you question the sincerity of celebrating St Patricks on other groups? Do you question the sincerity of celebrating St. Patricks on others who perform lavish acts during and after the parade?

            Many people on the GLBT community have move on.

          • B Russell

            I believe that is how it started. The Irish gay wanted to march, to show their pried. To show, “Hey I am Irish”. To show that every culture has
            homosexuality. To show that ” I am Irish and
            happened to be gay”. It was a different time.
            Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But hate is wrong. The Pope said it the way it should always be said,” who am I to judge”, when asked about homosexuals. The Bible talks about judging. Is unexplained how it is not use often in our society when it comes to consenting gays adults loving each other. Many people know this, but you don’t see many people like me openly taking the time to show others of this obvious fact. When I see gay consenting adults loving each other, ” who am I to judge”.

        • B Russell

          Last year the news posted the concern of the veterans group over the second parade, held the same day, getting bigger over the years. It also stated that they were thinking of allowing the GLBt to march at the major parade.

          I like people to get the story right. Many people have move on. Is nice to have a parade called the Peace parade during the celebration of St. Patricks.

          There are gays in every nationality, so I thought that Irish gays would want to celebrate, so to answer your curiosity.

  • joanmcn@aol.com

    One thing that needs to be said is there is no reason at all for sexual orientation to even come up in this. It has nothing to do with this parade which is for St.Patrick and is well within the rights of any Catholic to object to based on religion. Stop trying to jam this down people’s throats and understand that every.one doesn’t have to think that the gay lifestyle is wonderful. They preach tolerance yet have none for anyone who doesn’t agree with them. All people have the right to agree to disagree without being called racist.

    • David Hamburger

      You don’t actually have the right not to be called a bigot when you act like a bigot. Where did you get that ludicrous notion from?

      How exactly do you “not agree with” us? You deny our existence? That’s ludicrous.

      Which part of the gay lifestyle to you disagree with? The shopping? The laundry? The watching television? The wanting to be happy and not hated and treated differently by bigots?

    • B Russell

      Many people have move on and many of them also attend the Peace parade held on the same day and very close by. I don’t think you know the whole story. I respect your opinion and it has a lot of merit. Read my comments above I posted if you wish

  • NellieD

    Why do ‘gays’ have to be in-your-face about everything? I am tired of seeing so called headlines when someone ‘comes out’. Why do I care, why does anyone care? Your life style is your own business, why can’t they just live their life quietly and privately like the rest of us. They seem to always want their 10 minutes of fame, and shove their life style in our face, when the majority of us could not care less.

    • clarknt67

      Why do straights have to be in your face all the time? All the engagement announcements and extravagant weddings we all have to endure with a smile, pretending we care. And then all fawning over the products of their filthy fornication. Enough already. No one cares. Keep your sexuality to yourself you narcissists.

      • NellieD

        I guess that you would be one of the “products”. Guess that you did not have a happy childhood, poor you

    • David Hamburger

      Why do the Irish have to be so in-your-face about everything? Your ethnicity is your own business. Why can’t they just live their lives quietly and privately like the rest of us? They seem to always want their 10 minutes of fame and to shove their ethnic heritage and their shamrocks in our face when the majority of us couldn’t care less?

      Ludicrous and bigoted notions, right?

      They’re YOUR notions, just turned around. And just as bigoted no matter who you point them at.

    • Scott

      Nellie, trust me we look forward to when the majority of you couldn’t care less whether we’re gay. Then we could bring our same sex dates to the prom, talk about we did over the weekend at the water cooler and with whom, bring our spouses to family events/holidays, sit together and cheer our children at the school play….you know…all that “private” stuff…

      • B Russell

        Nice reply

    • Johan Corby

      Why do ‘blacks’ have to be in-your-face about everything? I am tired of seeing so called headlines when someone ‘comes out’. Why do I care, why does anyone care? Your race is your own business, why can’t they just live their life quietly and privately like the rest of us. They seem to always want their 10 minutes of fame, and shove their race in our face, when the majority of us could not care less.

      • NellieD

        Johan, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Don’t you have an original idea? Hmmm, sounds like you could be a bit of a racist, tsk, tsk, tsk.

    • B Russell

      Wow, whats school did you go? I am guessing that you are very young or young thinker, as I can politely express. I might be wrong. Life is not that simple. Is not about shoving it in anyone’s face. Some in the gay community will answer you by saying that being straight is announce every second multiple times in our daily life. If you live in this planet you would had notice that.

      • NellieD

        If you look for something hard enough you will usually find it, a slight, an insult, etc. Get beyond looking for stuff, and live. Why do you care what other people think? The only difference between straights and gays is sexual orientation, and eventually it will be accepted. By ‘getting in peoples faces’ you accomplish nothing, just negativity. The parade is an example. Why get peoples backs up, do you really care about Irish heritage? Why walk behind a label, purposely separating yourself from mainstream. With the enormous acceptance, of the gay community that has now taken place, compared to a generation or two ago, you are winning the struggle. I am left-handed, a struggle in a right-handed world, should I walk behind a banner ‘Left-Handed’ we want equality, in tools, right devices, etc.? in an Irish heritage parade? :-)

    • B Russell

      The people that have come out on the headlines are usually very famous or popular. More like a lifetime of fame.

  • Patty

    If homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and “are intrinsicly disordered then what are the acts of pedophilia that the church knew about and turned a blind eye to for years? I guess gays are not good people but pedohiles are honored and welcome in the church? I agree, if this is a private parade then the organizers can have who they want in it BUT stop being hypocrites when acts of depravity in the form of pedophilia were tolerated, ignored and “transfered away.”

    • B Russell

      Yes, pure hypocrite. I don’t care about the major parade. There is a better parade in a different route. The energy should be focus on that, on the peace parade. What happened to the news that last year the organizers of the main parade, the veteran, were concern that the second parade was growing every year? That’s what the GLBT needs to do for now on, on focusing on the peace parade. They rejected the LGBT many years ago. Where the veterans group the first one that initiate the invitation this year? I am not sure, but probably. The veteran group was in fear of people boycott the main parade over to the other one, since it has grown over the years. This was on the news last year. Some people like to attend a parade that identifies with peace during St. Patricks celebration than to attend a parade known for so many controversy.

      • NellieD

        The Quincy veterans parade had very few veterans, why did they not chose to march in a parade that honored them?

    • neil allen

      So true.

      The Catholic church hid and protected every single homosexual pedophile child raping priest in their fraternity, and that’s after every single one of them confessed their child rape to another priest.

      Cardinal Law and Bishop McCormick, the pedophile pimps of Boston, hid and moved Fr Geoghan (who raped over 100 boys), and Fr Porter (who raped over 100 children), and defended them as long as they could before normal human beings stopped the Catholic church from running the nation’s largest pedophile protection program.

      Now the Catholic church, with 400,000 priests who vowed never to have sex with a woman, how want to stop other people from being homosexual.

  • billy boy

    Did Brother Dalton and his people protest the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church of Boston in their coverup of Sexual abuse by priests? Do they realize the Vatican is full of homosexual priests??

    • B Russell

      There are a lot of homosexuals that have chosen the path of priesthood. I respect then as human beings. The priests that committed those acts against children, that is another thing.

      • NellieD

        You are right, just because you are a homosexual does not make you a child abuser.

  • Evo

    I think it’s really funny how conservative Louisiana has mardi gras and lefty Mass can’t get over a few gay people in a St. Patty’s Day Parade

    • NellieD

      St Patrick’s Parade, is a family orientated parade, Mari Gras is a bit more adult.

      • Evo

        Your comment just speaks to the fact that you’ve never been to Mardi Gras.

        • NellieD

          Maybe not, but I have seen it on tv, and what I saw was a bit adult.

      • B Russell

        All this talk about St. Patrick’s parade being a family oriented parade is a bit of an irony and hypocrite. A vast amount of people go for the celebration of getting drunk. Who would deny this. I do understand Evo’s comment about how he though it was funny how conservative Louisiana has Mardi Gras. I think Brother Thomas forgets about the disgusting acts done at St. Patrick’s parade and by saying that I don’t mean any disrespects to him.

        • NellieD

          I have gone to countless St. Patrick parades, the drinkers stay in the pubs… the parade front line has kids and families and people like me who like parades.

  • NellieD

    Come on David think about it, does the whole world care if (fill in the blank) or make that anyone, comes ‘out-of-the-closet’? Granted, maybe to family, close friends, etc. but the average public, not really. It is easy to name call, but name calling is not a valid point. In many cases, gays have been treated badly, but you also have to give people a chance to learn acceptance and tolerance. Instead of pushing your way into a religious parade (it is St. Patrick after all), understand the attitude of the people and the fact that you can’t change this generation overnight. Why do gays have to march under a banner, why purposely separate your self from the community at large. Being gay is a very small part of who you are as a person, why push that one small part of you?

  • Cindy

    I don’t see any GLBT people letting straight people join their parade either

    • Mary Ann Krebs

      Actually, there are a lot of straight people that march in the Gay Pride parade. They are family and friends that want to show their support for equality. So, if family are marching in that parade, couldn’t you say it’s a family parade? I live in South Boston and I went to the parade once. It was disgusting with all the drunken spectators and rivers of beer spilling down the hills of Broadway when the cops made people empty their containers. After the parade, the streets were littered with trash and empty beer bottles, liquor bottles and plastic cups. That’s not a message I’d want to share with my kids.

  • NellieD

    Scott, I like to think that most of us (the silent majority) don’t care, I have gone to public functions where nothing was thought of it, years ago. Who are the most vocal against it, are the religious – who, sadly, will be intolerant until the end of time. I guess that I must have worked in a more tolerant place as, yes, talk around the water cooler, going to company dinners, etc. I guess that I don’t believe in labels, as that separates us. As, to me, anyone being a ‘gay’ well that should be only a small part of who they actually are, as a person. Would you like your ‘obit’ to say, he was a great person, pleasant, trustworthily, every one liked him, etc. Or would you rather have just one word “gay”?

  • joanmcn@aol.com

    Just to be clear- as a white female I have never had the same “rights” as any other group out there.I am constantly discriminated against concerning wages,hiring and equality and I have survived just fine. Stop whining and move on with your life- for one I’m sick af hearing about your “rights”.

    • Johan Corby

      So since you’re too spineless to do anything about everyone else should just cave, too?

      • joanmcn@aol.com

        No I just realize that I don’t give a damn what small minded people think and I move on and stop whining. Try it sometime…

        • B Russell

          Many people have move on, and you could also find them in the peace parade or second parade on St. Patrick’s. I hope you get a raise.

  • B Russell

    Cindy, that is not true. About your comment that straights are not allowed in the GLBT parade! Obviously, you have not been to one. Your comment is also very naive. First the Governor and major are one of the first on this march. Many others straight group also march, parents, siblings…..don’t get me going.