After participating for 20 years in New York’s highly lauded St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one Catholic group is calling it quits.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is refusing to be a part of the age-old parade after learning that gay groups earned a spot in its ranks CBS New York reported. But the protest move is not what it seems.
The parade’s organizational committee has traditionally invited everyone to participate, but it banned gay propaganda and anti-abortion signs and memorabilia. This year, organizers decided to end the ban and allow a gay group to participate under its own banner.
The Catholic League’s president, Bill Donohue, said the group withdrew after learning that parade organizers broke a promise by snubbing pro-life groups, CBS New York reported.
“To be specific, I asked them to pledge that a pro-life Catholic group would also be permitted,” Donohue said in a statement Thursday. “I was told that a formal change in the rules had been approved and that a pro-life group would march. Now I am being told that the list of marching units is set and that no pro-life group will march in next year’s parade. Accordingly, I have decided to withdraw our participation.”
The Catholic League didn’t withdraw in protest over the gay group’s participation, Donohue emphasized, but because the parade didn’t honor its promises to treat everyone fairly.
“I was told that one [pro-life group] would be selected, just as the gay group was selected,” Donohue said. “Well, they chose to select the gay group and stiff the pro-lifers. That’s why I’m saying enough is enough.”
Donohue released the following statement Thursday:
“Prior to the announcement that a gay group would march under its own banner in the 2015 parade, I was consulted by parade organizers about their plans. I told them that I could only support this decision if there were a formal revision in the parade’s rules governing marching units, and that is exactly what I said in my first public statement. To be specific, I asked them to pledge that a pro-life Catholic group would also be permitted. I was told that a formal change in the rules had been approved and that a pro-life group would march. Now I am being told that the list of marching units is set and that no pro-life group will march in next year’s parade. Accordingly, I have decided to withdraw our participation.”
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