Irish Voice on IQ's bid to keep NYPD out of anti-gay parade, and McAleese refusal to join the bigots

"The news that President McAleese declined the invitation to lead the 250th St. Patrick’s Day parade has sparked a new level of controversy that should lead to a new dialogue. This is very good news for the Irish community in New York. We need to talk to one another about this issue that has divided and embarrassed us for too long now"...

Read the whole thing here. The letters page in the print edition is also an interesting read. No one there questions whether the parade is a display of anti-gay bigotry -- just whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. So far, the NYPD has voted with its feet for "good thing." But we're looking out for NYPD Commissioner Kelly's response by October 15th in case that changes.


Mary McAleese says nope to Grand Marshal invite

Irish President Mary McAleese turned down an invite to be the Grand Marshal of the NYC St. Patrick's Day parade. Irish Central, the Irish Voice's website, says it's because of the parade's explicit anti-gay stance. The comments are a good read...

IQ asks NYPD to stop marching in anti-gay parade

PRESS RELEASE - For immediate release

Date: September 22, 2010

NYC’s anti-gay St. Pat’s Parade takes another hit: As Irish President McAleese refuses to lead parade, Irish-American LGBT groups asks NYPD’s Kelly to stop uniformed cops from marching.

New York – The NYC group Irish Queers today asked NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to pull uniformed police officers from the anti-gay St. Patrick’s Day parade. In a letter to the Commissioner, the group charges that police participation is an endorsement of homophobia and a violation of LGBT communities’ right to expect equal access to police services.

The Irish Queers request comes on the same day as news of Irish president Mary McAleese’s decision to skip the parade, viewed in Irish American political circles as a refusal to endorse the parade’s discriminatory message.

The St. Patrick’s parade organizers have asserted the right to exclude LGBT people on the grounds of free speech, and have repeatedly affirmed that the parade has an explicitly anti-gay message.

Each year, thousands of uniformed NYPD officers march in the parade, comprising more than a dozen contingents. Other city uniformed personnel marching in an official capacity include the Fire Department and Emergency Services.

Parade organizers have long touted the parade as “a private religious procession” as a basis for excluding LGBT Irish groups, but have counted on strong participation from the city and its representatives.