Staten Island St. Patrick’s Parade still bans gay marchers

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to decline and warm weather begins to peek through the gray of winter, promising glimmers of normal life have begun to reappear in New York City.

On Staten Island, that means the return of the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It also signaled the return of a bitter conflict over whether gay groups should be allowed to march. As usual, they won’t.

Organizers have long banned gay, lesbian, and transgender groups from marching in local parades, even after New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan end the two-decade ban in 2014.

In 2020, the last time there was a parade on Staten Island, officials were even tougher. Based on what they consider to be public statements sympathetic to gay and transgender people, the parade organizers excluded a number of prominent individuals, including Miss Staten Island and a Council member. Republican City, out of the event.

The parade was canceled last year over concerns about the coronavirus, but now that it’s back, organizers have once again refused to allow LGBT groups to participate in the event, which was scheduled to take place. out on March 6.

That prompted a broad coalition of elected officials to boycott the celebration, including Staten Island district attorney Michael E. McMahon, and Mayor Eric Adams, who had come under the fire in recent days for appointing three men who spoke out against same-sex marriage to roles in his administration.

“We remain hopeful that the organizers of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on Staten Island will see the need to include celebration of our cultural heritage and allow members of the LGBTQ+ community to participate. family,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mr. Adams, said on Wednesday. “Until that time, the mayor will not participate in the parade.”

Organizing Committee did not respond to a request for comment in the past week. But they made their point very clear in their application for this year’s event, in bold capital letters: “THIS DEPARTMENT IS NOT USE AND WILL NOT ALLOW POLITICAL OR SEXUAL DEFINITION CLASSES RECOMMENDED.”

The application also says the marching committee will only allow a group to march if the group “does not stand in any way in opposition to or in conflict with the Catechism and Tenet of the Catholic Church.”

Carol Bullock, executive director of Staten Island’s Pride Center, has spent years trying to secure her community center a spot in the parade. She was not deterred by the tone of the petitions.

She attended a parade registration event at Holy Family Church on Staten Island last Sunday, along with representative from Fire Flag, which represents LGBT employees of the New York Fire Department, and the Gay Officers Action League, or GOAL, which represents law enforcement officers.

The Pride Center’s application was denied for years because the parade’s organizers asserted that it promoted a “gay lifestyle” that violated the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and contradicted the celebrating Irish identity, Ms. Bullock said. She didn’t expect them to change their mind this year.

“As soon as I saw the app, I knew what it was going to be like, quite frankly,” she said.

Larry Cummings, the chairman of the marching committee, explained his position in 2018 to The Irish Voice, an Irish-American news organization based in New York City.

“Our parade is about Irish heritage and culture,” he said. “It’s not a gender identity parade or politics.”

Mr Cummings told the paper that the decision of the “5th Avenue march” to allow LGBT organizations “has nothing to do with Staten Island”.

They are two completely separate entities, he said. “We’re not worried about what’s going on in Manhattan.”

After the hardships of the pandemic, Ms. Bullock said this year’s rejection was particularly painful because of the way parade organizers treated LGBT emergency responders.

Ms Bullock said when she gave her paperwork to Mr Cummings, he quickly told her the application would be rejected.

“Then GOAL gave them the application, and he said, ‘No, just put it in that pile right there,’ which is where my papers are,” Ms. Bullock said. “The man from GOAL asked, ‘What’s that stake for?’ And he said, ‘The rejected stuff.’ Then Fire Flag, the same thing happened”.

She added, “That makes it a little more painful because you have FDNYs and NYPDs defending our community, but they can’t march in a parade.”

The New York City Parade, to be held March 17 in Manhattan, is the oldest and largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the world. A major public event in the city, it is broadcast on television and attracts about 150,000 marchers and two million spectators each year.

The parade in Manhattan began with a mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the most prominent Catholic church in the United States. In ending the ban on gay groups, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said he welcomes the move is “a wise man.”

Smaller-scale parades are held annually in communities throughout the New York area, and in recent years many have watched the parade in Manhattan to allow LGBT groups to march.

This issue is not controversial in Ireland, has become secular In recent years. Ireland elected a gay prime minister in 2017, and LGBT groups have marched in parades marking the holiday there since the early 1990s.

The Staten Island parade draws thousands of spectators and is an important event for local families and businesses, but in recent years elected officials have mostly boycotted it because of the way treatment of gay marchers.

The Staten Island Pride Center and GOAL were informed that they would not be able to march in 2020. At the last minute, The organizers also banned Miss Staten Island, Madison L’Insalata, joined after she became bisexual and was removed from the City Council by Joseph Borelli, a Staten Island Republican, from the event after he brought her a little rainbow pin on his jacket.

Speaking to The Staten Island Advance later, Mr Borelli said the marching governors were so upset at the sight of his pin that they “stopped me, my wife and two boys in the stroller.” join the parade. They also called the police, he said.

“I spoke to a sergeant and would not complicate our police lives to prove a point,” said Borelli, who did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. . “I didn’t come to it looking for an argument. My friends gave me a pin. I really don’t think it’s a big insult to the Irish. “ Staten Island St. Patrick’s Parade still bans gay marchers

Fry Electronics Team

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