(image via twitter nowthisnews)
BY DAVID MIXNER
Count me among those who love St. Patrick’s Day. Each year the city becomes a sea of green, and people are having a great time (sometimes too great of a time!). Americans with Irish ancestry have much to celebrate both personally and in our contribution to America over the last two hundred years.
However, increasingly the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York has become a gathering place and platform for those who hate gays. Privately run and financed by sponsors and given credibility by media, the parade has become a haven for those who want to express openly their hatred of LGBT Americans.
For more than two decades, the battle has waged between those who love human rights and the aging parade organizers, and little progress has been made — though the conflict appears to be getting worse.
All you have to do is apply the classic test to see the injustice of this green march down Fifth Avenue.
Can you imagine the reaction in New York City if there was a major parade down the legendary boulevard that forbid African-Americans or Jewish Americans from marching in it?
Do you really believe for a second that Ford Motor Company would think it would be a good idea to sponsor such a gathering?
Do you believe that NBC (coming out of Sochi) would show the parade live on television and be a sponsor of the event?
Can you imagine the outrage if the Police Chief of New York City would march in a parade that banned African-Americans and Jewish Americans?
Really? We know the answer to those questions.
Mayor De Blasio deserves praise for being the first New York Mayor to refuse to pass St. Patrick’s Cathedral and celebrate the exclusion of LGBT Americans.
However, what about the Mayor’s new Police Chief William Bratton walking proudly in the parade? When challenged, he said he was walking to honor 9/11 first responders. Really, Chief Bratton? Do you think we don't see that you're excusing bigotry by hiding behind the victims of 9/11? I can think of at least 100 ways to honor those victims without endorsing the exclusionary hate this parade now represents.
The Mayor should have had a talk with the Chief. Just how much should the LGBT community now trust the new Police Chief after his marching yesterday? His presence in the parade sends a powerful message to our community of his disdain for our rights.
Boston is struggling with the same issue. The parade organizers in Boston allowed Scott Lively, who supports the death penalty for LGBT folks, to march. Mr. Lively just praised President Putin as a hero for his suppression of homosexuals. The same committee was unable to reach agreement with the LGBT community to allow them to march and the mayor of the city boycotted it.
There should be no more patience for corporations such as Ford Motor Company and NBC over their support of this march that has come to symbolize hatred toward the LGBT community. New York’s Police Chief needs to understand that with this one walk down Fifth Avenue, he left the rest of us disgusted and distrustful of his leadership.