St. Patrick’s Day may be a time of revelry and fun, but that didn’t stop ABC and NBC from hitting New York’s parade as anti-gay. Today co-host Natalie Morales on Monday lectured, “And today is St. Patrick's Day, of course, but some controversy hanging over some of the country's biggest celebrations.” [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
Morales added, “New York's mayor Bill de Blasio isn't marching in today's parade because it does not allow gays and lesbians to openly take part.” Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, news reader Josh Elliott remarked, “And New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, the largest in the world, lost a major sponsor overnight.”
Neither ABC nor NBC provided much context. Catholic League President Bill Donohue explained in Newsmax:
Mayor de Blasio looked even more foolish when his spokesman said the reason his boss would not march in the St. Patrick's Day parade in the Rockaways, held the day before the Sunnyside one, was because gays were banned from marching in their own unit.
This was false — they can. More likely, he was afraid of being booed by those who live there. The Rockaways are home to legions of Irish cops and firefighters. For the same reason, the mayor also didn't march in the parade held on Staten Island, though the ban on a separate gay contingent didn't stop him from marching as a public official before he became mayor.
Adding to de Blasio's confused approach to the St. Patrick's Day parade was his decision to cancel the annual breakfast at Gracie Mansion, the mayor's official residence. I have publicly accused him of not wanting to associate with Irish Catholics; apparently such criticism has had an effect because the breakfast has been reinstated.
What is particularly disturbing about this contrived controversy is the reaction of gay activists and public officials. The Stonewall Democrats have accused the parade of "breathing hate." The following have levied the charge "bigoted" at the parade: City Councilman Daniel Patrick Dromm; Irish Queers; the Irish Independent; and Denis Hamill of the Daily News. Moreover, dozens of New York notables have signed a statement accusing the parade of discrimination.
CBS This Morning also offered a full report on the topic.
A transcript of the two news briefs can be found below:
ABC GRAPHIC: St. Patrick’s Parade Controversy: Guinness Protests Ban on Gays
JOSH ELLIOTT: And New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, the largest in the world, lost a major sponsor overnight. Guinness has joined Heineken in withdrawing from the event to pro test the parade’s ban on openly gay marchers. Sam Adams dropped its sponsorship of this year’s parade in Boston parade for the same reason.
NATALIE MORALES: And today is St. Patrick's Day, of course, but some controversy hanging over some of the country's biggest celebrations.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Parade Controversy; Mayors Boycott in Support of LGBT Community]
New York's mayor Bill de Blasio isn't marching in today's parade because it does not allow gays and lesbians to openly take part. And Boston's mayor Martin Walsh stayed away from Sunday's parade there for the same reason.
Meanwhile, beer makers Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams pulled their sponsorship's of the parades.