| 16.2°C Dublin

no pride Staten Island refuses permission for LGBT groups to march in St Patrick’s Day parade

It is the only parade in the New York metro area where such a ban exists


Staten Island has once again refused permission for LGBT groups to march in this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade on March 6. 

It is the only parade in the New York metro area where such a ban exists, after the New York City St Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan ended a two-decade ban in 2014.

However, the borough’s St Patrick’s Day parade prohibits groups with “political or sexual identification agendas.”

It has been reported that three LGBT groups had gone to a parade sign-up session at Holy Family Church in Staten Island only to be “rebuffed” by Larry Cummings, the long-time leader of the parade who for years has been adamant that gay groups have no place in the borough’s St Patrick’s march.

“I handed (Cummings) the application and he said, ‘I don’t want that,’” Pride Center Executive Director Carol Bullock told Gay City News. “The minute we walked in, I could see his body language.

“At one point, I said, ‘I don’t understand. We are allowed to march in Boston, in Dublin, in New York City — why not Staten Island? What makes Staten Island so different?’ He just stared at me.”

According to the groups, the parade application indicated that the denial was a foregone conclusion.

The application reportedly states that the Parade Committee “will not allow affiliation by an organization which has intent, by word, display, or deed, to disparage, embarrass or ridicule Irish culture, traditions or the Roman Catholic religion.

“This includes, but is not limited to, the use of any banners, signs, clothing/costumes/accessories, actions, and/or language.”

Mr Cummings, the president of the parade committee, explained his position in 2018 to The Irish Voice, an Irish-American news organisation based in New York City.

“Our parade is for Irish heritage and culture,” he was quoted as saying. “It is not a political or sexual identification parade.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Mr Cummings told the paper that the decision by “the Fifth Avenue parade” to allow LGBT organisations “has no bearing on Staten Island.”

“They are two totally separate entities,” he said. “We don’t worry about what goes on in Manhattan.”

The parade in Staten Island draws thousands of spectators every year and is an important event for local families and businesses.

However, in recent years the controversy surrounding the ban on gay marchers has led to some elected officials boycotting the event, including Staten Island’s district attorney, Michael E. McMahon.

Mayor Eric Adams, who has come under fire recently for appointing three men who voiced opposition to gay marriage to roles in his administration, is also not taking part.

“We are still hopeful that the organizers of the Staten Island St Patrick’s Day Parade will see the need for inclusion in our celebrations of cultural heritage and allow members of the LGBTQ+ community to participate,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mr Adams, said on Wednesday.

“Until that time, the mayor will not participate in the parade.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices