It seems we Irish can’t go anywhere without wanting to march and cause a kafuffle.

The 254th annual St Patrick’s Day parade in New York is apparently embroiled in an equality row. Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio is again reported to be boycotting this year’s march because of the lack of an Irish gay group in the parade. But is he right to boycott this event?

To give some background; the crux of the argument is around the parades longstanding opposition for any group to march in the parade under any political banner, with the one exception being a banner that reads “England Get Out of Ireland.” This it seems, is something that everyone involved in the parade, gay or straight, could agree on.

Gay people have always marched in the parade and I’m sure they will continue to march in future parades and rightly so. But let’s be clear and avoid all doubt; gay people have never been prohibited from marching! When they have marched they did so under banners reading for example “County Donegal Association of New York” or “Westchester County Firefighters Emerald Society Pipe Band” but not “Irish Queers.”

So why all the fuss you may ask, why not let them march under a banner identifying their sexual orientation? Well I say why should they be allowed? Why should they be allowed to march in this parade, under a banner which advertises what they like to do with their genitalia? What has that got to do with St Patrick? These gay banners are an advert for their way of life; which is irrelevant to the parade.

In many respects the parade is a display of Catholic Pride, Irish Catholic Pride, Irish Christian Pride! And I’m asking myself why anyone would want to march under a banner which is contrary to Catholic teaching, in a parade which is essentially a Catholic celebration? I mean is this really about gay rights or is it their intention, rather, to portray Catholics as bigots? Do these groups not already have a parade to celebrate their sexual orientation? And then there are the rules – no political banners!

Whether you agree or disagree with the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality, it is irrelevant in this case! I ask you dear reader to put your emotions to one side and consider that the parade for all intentional purposes is a celebration of a Catholic Saint; it’s a Christian parade guys!!!  Surely it’s unreasonable to antagonize Catholics and Christians in this way and demand that banners denoting sexual orientation be displayed?

I would think this would cause outrage from the gay community if a Catholic group applied to march in the Belfast Gay Pride parade under the banner; “We adhere to Catholic Teaching on Sexual Morality”, or some other banner which is in direct conflict with the parades core principal! We shouldn’t have two standards and the New York Parade organizers should’ve held their nerve on this one.

Sadly though, it seems the pressure applied by the gay lobby on the parade organizers has delivered. In September last year and after decades of principled opposition, the committee for the parade announced that as part of a compromise they would allow a gay advocacy group to march for the first time in the parade. The group selected was from the parades broadcast partner NBC and is called OUT@NBCUniversal.

You might be right for thinking that that would be the end of it, but no! Groups such as Irish Queers, have said “There is no change. This is not progress. This is a farce.” They go as far as calling it an “explicitly anti-gay parade.”  This is because the selection process was not open to the public.

The issue is compounded further for the religious; for when the committee announced in September that the homosexual group could march in the parade, it also came with a promise, to the Catholic League, to allow a pro life group to also march.  The Wall Street Journal reported on September 11th 2014 that parade spokesman William O’Reilly “wrote in an email to The Wall Street Journal on Sept. 3: “The committee will now let a pro-life group march with a banner, but one hasn’t been selected yet.”

The article continues; “In the email, Mr. O’Reilly wrote that the announcement about the antiabortion group could come later this year. At a news conference last week, a parade official was vague when asked about this commitment to the Catholic League. But after the news conference ended, Mr. O’Reilly said a antiabortion group would be allowed to march as part of a “deal” to permit the gay group to march.”

However, within the space of a week of that commitment, the WSJ report advises, the door was closed to the pro life group. Bill Donohue, director of the Catholic League, has since said that they would not be participating in this year’s event because the organizers reneged on their promise – that was announced publicly – to allow a pro life group to march.

““My reasons for withdrawing from the parade have nothing to do with…gays. It has to do with being betrayed by the parade committee,” Mr. Donohue said.

“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. This is as stunning as it is indefensible,” he said.”

So is Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio right to boycott the event? Not if you ask me; he’s backed the wrong horse!

I think this Irish proverb is fitting to finish with – “There’s nothing so bad that it couldn’t be worse”.

10 Responses to “IRISH QUEERS” WANT TO MARCH! By Kieran Maxwell

  1. Norma wilson March 4, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    Things Irish-American Protestants
    should know about Ireland

    By Sam Smith

    St, Patrick’s Day celebrations were begun by American Irish Protestants. According to Edward T. O’Donnell in the History News Network:

    “The practice of honoring St. Patrick on March 17, traditionally understood as the day of his death (c. 493) at Downpatrick in County Down, is a tradition that comes from old Ireland. For centuries the people of Ireland marked the day as a solemn religious event, perhaps wearing green, sporting a shamrock, and attending mass, but little more. No one knows for sure when the first commemoration of St. Patrick’s Day in America took place. One of the earliest references is to the establishment of the Charitable Irish Society, founded on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston in 1737. Another early celebration took place in New York City in 1762, when an Irishman named John Marshall held a party in his house. Although little is known of Marshall’s party, it is understood that his guests marched as a body to his house to mark St. Patrick’s Day, thus forming an unofficial ‘parade.’ The first recorded true parade took place in 1766 in New York when local military units, including some Irish soldiers in the British army, marched at dawn from house to house of the leading Irish citizens of the city. With few exceptions, the parade in New York has been held every year since 1766. Thus was a tradition born – an American tradition only recently adopted in Ireland itself.”

    The idea spread. For example, on March 17, 1812, in Savannah GA, thirteen men founded the Hibernian Society dedicated to aiding destitute Irish immigrants, largely Catholic. A few months later, the group, now up to 44 members, adopted a constitution and the motto, “non sibi sed alis” (not for ourselves, but for others). Not one charter member was a Catholic. One year later, on March 17, the group marched in procession to a Presbyterian church for a service and oration.

    Thanks to Irish-American Protestants, St. Patrick’s Day became secularized rather than, as in Ireland, considered a day of holy obligation. In fact, until the 1970s the bars in Dublin were closed on March 17.

    Over the next few decades, groups such as the Hibernians, the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, and Irish Aid societies sprung up in America as a reflection of Irish loyalty and concern for Irish immigrants.

    The Catholics were not the only religion persecuted by the English. Presbyterians, who had fled Scotland to escape persecution, found a similar fate in Ireland. It was one of the causes of Irish emigration to America prior to the potato famine. As one history recounts:

    “Though they naturally contributed to the stipend of their own preachers, Presbyterians (and other dissenters: Quakers, Baptists and, later, Methodists, as well as Roman Catholics) were obliged by law to financially support the Church of Ireland, through payment of tithes; this provoked deep resentment. Ulster Presbyterians deeply resented being obliged to submit to, support and obey the Episcopalian church interests of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy . . . By the archaic Test Act, Presbyterians were barred from holding public office — unless they took the communion sacrament according to Church of Ireland rites.”

  2. Norma wilson March 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    Aye, and now that they have monopolised that, PROTESTANTs need to do their history lessons. We are a truly great race of people. Don’t let anybody tell you different, be proud of who you are. Hold your head high, and don’t let anyone te you different.
    Before the Catholics decided to slaughter us, with their bombs and bullets. Pre 69 my grandmother drowned her shamrock.
    I don’t know how we let you’s hi-jack it.
    Saint Patrick was again hi-jacked from Britain, he was not even Irish. So to all PROTESTANTs again I say, don’t let anybody put you down. EVER

    • ANOTHER JUDE March 4, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

      You are not `a race` Norma, you are a religious group.

  3. ANOTHER JUDE March 4, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Why not allow a group to march under a WE SUPPORT THE RIGHT TO ADULTERY` banner? Let`s face it, that is just as big a sin in Christian terms.

  4. Jim Lynch March 4, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    You know Norma the more I read your comments the more I’m convinced you only open your mouth to change feet!
    I don’t believe an egalitarian thought has ever entered your head.

  5. Ceannaire March 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Norma, Protestantism is NOT a race, so I am indeed telling you different!

    However, it is you who needs to do the history lesson.

    “Before the Catholics decided to slaughter us, with their bombs and bullets. Pre 69 my grandmother drowned her shamrock.”

    You’ll find that pre 1969 it was Unionists and Loyalists who were shooting and bombing – between 1966 and 1969 it was only Unionist/Loyalist bombs and bullets (not to mention firebombs) that were causing misery and death. Was that the reason why your Granny drowned her shamrock then?

    We are well aware Patrick was not Irish. Just like St. George. He was a Palestinian. Islam has a particular respect for this St George.

    In relation to the OP: I have been at many a St Patrick’s Day parade and have witnessed many banners that have nothing to do with Patrick – community floats, advertising(!), all kinds of non-religious banners, GAA sections etc.
    It appears you want to create a strict Catholic parade. The nature of St Patrick’s Day has changed. St Patrick is claimed by the Irish people – Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter. You want to claim him as yours. We want to claim him as ours.

    • Norma wilson March 4, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      What are you insinuating reference my grandmother? How dare you, I cannot tell you how mad I am at this moment. You could not even come up to her shoes laces.

  6. Perkin Warbeck March 4, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    There is a remark by a party guest in the movie ‘Manhattan’:

    -I finally had an orgasm and my doctor told me it was the wrong sort.

    At least the movie used to be called ‘Manhattan’. Knowing how the Dworkin Class have had Woody Allen, the celluloid wizard who magicked up the movie in their (very) cross-hairs, it is probably available down the local DVD store these days under the chastened title of ‘Personhattan’.

    One suspects that once the ‘Irish Queers,’ (soi disant) who are the pink-tinted bully boy equivalent of the orange-shaded billy boys , get over their sixty nine second avenue rush of endorphins to their inflated egos which their latest, erm, bua/ triumph has brought them they will realise that they have been having the wrong sort of orgasm after all.

    Or will they?

    On second thoughts, one suspect not. Despite their initials it seems that the I.Q. of the Irish Queers is not quite of the sky-scraping variety. and that their particular hue of pink – the salmon of knowledge hue in keeping with their affinity for the Boyne water – is not of necessity compatible with grey matter.

    St. Patrick’s Day Parades, including the one which New Yawkers likes to walk in and be gawked at, are to do with the primary colour Green,, rather than the secondary one of pink.

    Johhny Cash, who at one time back in the Fabulous Fifties liked to toot around town with Jerry Lee Lewis and the good ole boys in their pink cadillacs, was right on the money when he came to a horse-power of a different colour: G for Green Backs.

    He broke it down into 40 different shades, the idea being that there is one for every conceivable type of Irish individual, give or take, Spiv or Sheik.

    Not that the ‘Irish Queers’ (fein-luaite) seem to have noticed, so intoxicated have they been of late by the exhuberance of their own cheerleaders.in the meejia. Not sure about Norneverland but certainty in the Free Southern Stateen.

    The way the winds have been blowing in their favour south of the Black PIg’s, erm, Dyke in recent times – from being conferred with the freedom of the stage of the Abbey Theatre to the throwing open of the closets of Sunday Morning Radio,to the Fumbledoms and Stumblebums.

    It’s called CDS radio in the business. Cleanest Dirty Shirt.

    At this rate of progress one can easily envisage the scene on Fifth Avenue on M 17 when, under a ticker tape cascade of three dollar bills, and after been wined and winded all morning on Mulligan stew the ‘Irish Queers’ (their term du jour) will take a leaf out of Spike Milligan’s tree and, erm, ‘walk backwards for St. Patrick’s Day’.

    M 17 reminds one of M 16 which in turn reminds one that the most famous / notorious ‘Irish Queer’ of them all will loom rather on the large side next year, M 17, 16.

    That would be Roger Casement. His ghost is already knocking on the door, but at the moment he can’t get even get a look in.

    RC was arrested in a naval encounter at Banna Strand and if the ‘Irish Queers’ (their dic pick) were to remove their rapt gaze from the contemplation of their own collective navels they might do worse than consider the man who preferred to be known as Ruairi Mac Easmuinn. And who walked the walk when it came to rights as distinct from cakewalking the piin-chalked line.

    He never chose to make a public issue of what was his own private bent; preferring instead to concentrate his public attention on what belonged to the public domain: the Gaelic rather than the Gay.. It was left to the sneaky go-be-the-walls of Whitehall (who will always be with us, go bhfoie Dia orainn) to spread his personal diaries like they were a carpet of Axminster diarrhoea.

    For those who will argue that there was a severe penalty to be paid in those dark days for waltzing out of the wardrobe in eye-winking pink, one has, erm, noose for them: there were somewhat more strict ones for wrapping the green flag around one’s pole.

    It was called the Pentonville Jig.

    Ruairi Mac Easmainn, more than most, recognised that of the forty shades of green the pride of place went to the Gaelic shade; all other 39 hues being but a paler shade of same. This globe trotter saw the Gaelic thing for what it was: the unique contribution of Paddy to the Planet. And that every country in the world was chock a b. full of folk who like to trip the gay fantastic.

    . And Ruairi knew too that if the primary Irish colour was lost in the wash what remained was but a meaningless tubful of bosh, tosh and balderdash.

    Thus, those ‘Irish Queers’ (mar a thugann siad orthu fein) who will resemble a colourful break out from a Hieronymus Bosch painting in MOM of the Big Apple on M 17 would even deign to call themselves ‘Piteoga’ it would be a start.

    ‘Piteoga’ have been around since the time of Darby O’Gill: it’s what the leprechauns called (‘yawn) ‘queers’. How do they think ‘crocks of gold ‘ and Rainbow Coalitions first came to be inextricably linked?Get pver it, chums/ Faigh reidh leis, a chairde.

    Roger C. did.

    Should they deign to do that, why, it might even whet their appetite for this thing they call in their shrill frillies erm, ‘rights’. For starters they might turn their highly tuned antennae to the one minor anomaly in the Free Southern Stateen’s fabulously fair human equality agenda: the only arena where one can badmouth another is in…….the linguistic one.

    Try being Gaelic for one day, chums. And you’ll see or at least hear.

    To conclude, by dint of walking backwards, where one started.

    Meryl Streep played the role of the divorced lesbian wife of the Woody Allen character in the above mentioned movie. She was later to swop the canyons of Manhattan for the vales of Glenties for a role in ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’.

    (Striapach , pronounced streepock, is a street walker in the mischeivous lingua franca of the leprechaun which for some reason continues to get a bad pressin the Q.’s E.. Missy Meryl had to do a deal of pavement pounding in both movies).

    The Madame Mongolot who holds the portfolio of Minister for the Gaeltacht (including Na Gleanta) at the mo adds a different dimension of derangement to the concept of ‘Lughnasa’.

    Last word on M 17, An t-Ull Mor/ The Big Apple:

    tis the mounted police of the NYPD and their mounts who will be on dooty, one feels sympathy for/ a mhotaionn duine trua doibh.

  7. Norma wilson March 4, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    You’s all missed my point, come Paddys day, you like to claim the day as “our selves alone”. He belongs to every person on this Island.
    If the PSNI want to parade in New York City, that’s great. Mind your business.
    If you look at the cap badge on the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, you will see George slaying the dragon. Thank you for your info regarding where he came from. He was not a Muslim.
    The last time I went into Belfast to watch the parade, I did not feel safe,
    A lot of young people being antagonistic wanting to cause trouble.
    Again, I feel we are a great race of people.

  8. Irish Mick March 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    Norma are you telling me that if I went to a parade on the 12th I would be welcomed with open arms made to feel completely comfortable and “safe” as you put it, and there would be no young people looking to cause trouble or antagonise me?