Ireland’s historic vote on same-sex marriage apparently means nothing to the head of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Irish Voice reports today that John Dunleavy, the chairman of the parade, is shopping the broadcast rights to the 2016 parade to other networks after NBC insisted that gay groups be allowed to march. Dunleavy has declared that gay groups will “have a problem” if they want to march in 2016.
The local NBC affiliate, Channel 4, has aired the Fifth Avenue parade live for several years, but was prepared to end its coverage in 2015 if organizers failed to include a gay marching unit, a divisive issue that caused controversy for decades. [email protected], NBC’s LGBT support group, was given a place in the line of march – with the approval of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who was named grand marshal — NBC once again provided four hours of live TV coverage, and sponsors that had withdrawn support from the march in 2014 returned.
The Irish Voice has learned that the local Fox affiliate, WNYW Channel 5, has already passed on the chance to air the 2016 parade. Dunleavy and his allies on the committee have also reached out to WPIX Channel 11, but it is believed that the response will also be negative. “This is all about the gay issue,” one parade source told the Irish Voice. “It’s unfortunate that John Dunleavy just can’t let it go. It’s June, everyone is taking a breather but not him. He’s still angry.”
“Some of the guys talked to me. There is going to be some changes,” Dunleavy said when asked about next year’s march by the interviewer at a lunch for parade volunteers held at Antun’s in Queens. “No major changes but there is going to be changes. I am going to run for another term and [at] that time we will put certain items into the changes that we need.” Clearly commenting on the inclusion of gay groups in next year’s march, Dunleavy warned, “The parade itself is not there to promote anybody’s particular agenda in any way, shape or form. The parade represents our faith, our heritage and our culture, nothing more and nothing less. So we’re going to keep to that, and anybody who wants to mix that up is going to have a problem next year.”
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and other city leaders have boycotted the parade over the exclusion of LGBT groups. Hit the link for much more, including a video of the Dunleavy interview.