Scourge of St Patrick’s Day homophobia

Recent weeks have been a depressing time for anyone who cares about stuff like basic equality and human rights. The Sochi Olympics were tainted by Russia’s repressive restrictions on gay and lesbian rights…

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh…announced Wednesday that he is trying to negotiate a deal to permit gay and lesbian groups to march in the city’s notoriously restricted St. Patrick’s Day parade. If the gay veterans group is refused permission to march, he says he will follow in the tradition of his predecessor Tom Menino and boycott the proceedings. “Equality comes first,” says Walsh. “The fact that it’s 2014, I certainly hope we’re able to come to an understanding. It’s long overdue.”

Meanwhile in New York City, where prior mayors Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani both regularly participated in the city’s equally restricted St. Patrick’s Day parade, new Mayor Bill de Blasio has made it clear he will not. Earlier this month he issued a similar statement, saying, “I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city and the contributions of Irish Americans, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in this city.” That’s how it’s done, folks.

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They are talking about restricting gay groups, not restricting gay individuals. Why is a special group needed? This is not a problem any mayor will have with Muslims groups, of course, for whom gays are totally anathema. But they will not be boycotted for their stance.