By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com March 21 2014 8:44 PM ET
Surprise, surprise — antigay Catholic activist Bill Donohue isn’t going to march in New York’s LGBT pride parade after all, even though organizers say he can.
Donohue released a statement Friday saying he would not attend informational sessions that are required for all parade participants. “Today, I informed Heritage of Pride officials that I objected to their rule requiring me to attend gay training sessions, or what they call ‘information’ sessions,” Donohue, head of the Catholic League, said on his website. “’I don’t agree with your rule,’” I said. They responded by saying that attendance was ‘mandatory.’”
Early in the week, Donohue had said he objected to sponsors such as Guinness pulling out of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade because LGBT marchers weren’t allowed to participate, at least not with any signage identifying them as such. He then said he would apply to march in the LGBT parade with a “Straight Is Great” banner, and Heritage of Pride, which runs the parade, said he was welcome to do so, if he went through the proper procedures.
In his statement today, Donohue said the St. Patrick’s Day parade has rules as well. “It is hypocritical for gay activists to complain about having to abide by the mandatory rules of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and then inform me that I cannot march in their parade unless I respect their mandatory rules, rules that I reject,” he said.
Earlier in the day, after Donohue had hinted that he might not join in the parade, Village Voice blogger Anna Merlan wrote, “Donohue’s claim that the pride march organizers are throwing up unreasonable roadblocks to keep him from participating is a little disingenuous. It seems almost like an excuse to keep from having to march with a bunch of terrifying happy gay folks, does it not?”
She noted that Donohue would have to “attend a training session where he can pick up his permit and hear from the parade marshal how the lineup for the event works. It's not an LGBT Training Camp. Sorry to disappoint, Mr. Donohue.”
After he confirmed that he indeed would not be in the parade, Merlan updated her post to say, “After a little bit of logical twisting and turning, he gets to do what he was really itching to in the first place and call the Pride folks hypocritical. It does seem like a man of Bill Donohue’s robust heterosexuality could withstand a few hours around gay people, but perhaps this is for the best.”