Catholic League blowhard Bill Donohue has really outdone himself with today’s laughable lie. As you probably know, in response to Guinness pulling its support from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Donohue demanded permission to march in the NYC Pride parade. Much to his horror, they graciously welcomed him to participate. Take it away, Donohue:
I asked to join the parade under a banner that would read, “Straight is Great.” The purpose of my request was to see just how far they would go without forcing me to abide by their rules. It didn’t take long before they did. 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. “I don’t agree with your rule,” I said. They responded by saying that attendance was “mandatory.” The St. Patrick’s Day parade has mandatory rules, too. It bars groups representing their own cause from marching, which is why pro-life Catholics—not just gays—are barred from participating under their own banner. But only gays complain: they refuse to abide by the rules. Indeed, they went into federal court seeking to force a rule change. They lost. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that private parades have a First Amendment right to determine their own rules. 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. Good luck to the Heritage of Pride participants. I may be watching it from afar, but I sure won’t be downing a Guinness afterwards.
As ANYBODY who was ever participated in NYC Pride knows, ALL groups must send a representative to a training session in advance of the parade. At these meetings those representatives are given instructions about the logistics of the parade, where and when to line up, rules about sound systems, safety procedures, police instructions – all the very basic details that are given out prior to ANY major public parade. The folks that attend these training sessions are even given special “group marshal” t-shirts to wear during the parade so that parade monitors can find them should there be any problem. THAT is what Bill Donohue calls “forced gay training.” We all knew he would find some way to weasel out of the parade, but this is too fucking funny for words.
RELATED: Several years ago a group of NYC-based bloggers and journalists formed a group to march in the parade. Calling ourselves the Digital Activists, we sent Father Tony and Chris, his husband of 30 years (pictured here in his parade marshal shirt), to attend the training session. Tony just related to me by phone how amusing he found it that the training session that year was held at St. Vincent’s, where a baleful Jesus gazed down upon all those evil homofascists from a massive crucifix at the end of the room. I bet even Bill Donohue would have liked that.
UPDATE: Recent NYC Pride training director Maurice Owen-Michanne has graciously provided me with the PowerPoint presentation which Bill Donohue calls “forced gay training.” As you’ll see, the words “gay” and “LGBT” appear exactly once each in the entire document. And that’s in the name of the event. Maps! Directions! Sunscreen! Comfortable shoes! All that forced gay training is OVERWHELMING.