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Published On: Wed, Sep 17th, 2014

Catholic League exits New York St Patrick’s Day parade after exclusion of pro-life group

The New York St. Patrick’s Day parade organizer announced the inclusion of a gay and lesbian group and the Catholic League responded by announcing their exit. The deeper outrage is over the exclustion of an anti-abortion group.
 
William Donohue of the Catholic League announced that the organization would no longer participate in the popular celebration of Irish-American culture.
 
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Donohue claims the parade organizers had “betrayed” him by promising that an anti-abortion group would be allowed to participate if a gay group were given a permit. He claimed the committee later reversed itself and said abortion opponents would not be marching next year.

 
“They not only told me one thing, and did another, they decided to include a gay group that is neither Catholic nor Irish while stiffing pro-life Catholics,” Donohue said in a statement
 
“This is as stunning as it is indefensible.”
 
Parade spokesman William O’Reilly said a pro-life  group would be marching, but said it hadn’t been selected. Then he said an anti-abortion group had to apply to march, and this week said all the spaces had been taken.

 
“Had a group filed an application they might be marching in 2015,” O’Reilly told The Wall Street Journal. “But no application, or even phone call, came forward. The parade is … packed. There has to be a cutoff point.”
 
The St. Patrick’s Day parade committee battled lawsuits and ultimately approved the gay and lesbian groups to march under their own banner and they chose [email protected], a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource group from NBC, to be the first.
 
The network is a sponsor and broadcaster of the event, which processes along Fifth Avenue.
 
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the parade’s grand marshal next March 17, welcomed the move, a significant change from previous archbishops and one that sparked criticism from many Catholic conservatives.
 
Critics are calling Dolan’s actions “a dereliction of duty” while National Catholic Register columnist Pat Archbold said Dolan’s response was “a shameful and sinful capitulation.”
 
The parade is not a Catholic-sanctioned event but it is closely identified with Irish Catholicism.
 
In his statement this week, Donohue insisted that his decision not to march does not mean that he is “at odds” with Dolan.
 
“Cardinal Dolan has no more rabid supporter than Bill Donohue,” he said, “and nothing that has transpired recently changes anything.”
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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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