John Dunleavy and his allies on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee seem determined to keep excluding Irish LGBT organizations and drag the rest of us into this never ending controversy.
This is important because for better or for worse, mostly worse, the parade is the first and often only thing that much of the world knows about Irish America.
If the Irish LGBT groups are excluded again, very few people will ever know or notice how many AOH divisions carry “England Get Out of Ireland” banners.
Once again, really important issues like the torture of Irish political prisoners, British government collusion, or discrimination in employment will be largely eclipsed.
Irish Americans will be isolated from every city and state wide elected official and the New York City Council.
Right now, if people know anything about Ireland it’s that it became the first country to pass marriage equality by referendum. In fact, the margin of victory was overwhelming.
In the North, 20,000 people just marched for marriage equality, led by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Amnesty International. Only the DUP is preventing it from becoming legal in the North as well.
No wonder it’s so hard to explain to people why Irish LGBT organizations shouldn’t be allowed to march.
The sad thing is that all this is totally unnecessary.
All it would take would be a decision by the Parade Committee to invite an organization like the Lavender and Green Alliance or St. Pat’s for All to march next year.
The AOH, although it no longer organizes the parade, still had enormous influence. It is, after all, by far the largest Irish American organization. If the New York City AOH divisions publicly called on the Parade Committee to include Irish LGBT organizations this might all be resolved.
Otherwise, this will drag on for yet another year and Irish Americans will be the big losers.