Gay pride v. St. Patrick

UPDATE 2: No surprise here: The tentative deal referenced below has been swept off the table by parade organizers, according to the Boston Herald. This situation could change again, but now I expect an ugly parade-day scene in Southie.


The Boston Globe and other media outlets say a tentative deal has been struck allowing a gay advocacy group to march in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. The reported agreement, brokered by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, contains a provision prohibiting the group from wearing T-shirts or carrying banners that proclaim their sexual orientation.

This situation could change before the March 16 parade. But as noted in most media stories about the issue, the demographics and character of Boston’s “Southie” neighborhood, once a solid Irish-Catholic enclave, have changed dramatically in recent years.


With St. Patrick’s Day less than three weeks away, the showdown over whether gay groups can march openly in two of America’s most famous March 17th parades is nearing a climax.

The Los Angeles Times offers this rundown on the situation in New York and Boston, where each city’s newly elected mayor says they will refuse to march because parade organizers continue to ban gays. Here’s another version of the story from USA Today.

Gays march in Dublin‘s annual parade.

Gays are welcome in Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade. Image by The Guardian.

Gays are welcome in Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Image by The Guardian.

Naturally, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has offered her typically snarky take on the Big Apple controversy:

It has just always seemed strange to me that gays were fighting so hard for so long to bust into such a hoary, boozy, corny tradition. Didn’t they have something more fun and cool to do?

But a quote from Dublin drag queen Panti Bliss, a.k.a. Rory O’Neill is the most provocative part of the piece. S/he suggests that the Manhattan parade organizers to pious Orangemen in Northern Ireland, “very much tied up in an old Ireland that doesn’t really exist anymore.”

It will be interesting to see if parade organizers in either city give ground by the time the parades step off.