Bill Donohue asks to march in NYC Gay Pride Parade

by Jamie Manson

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Yes, you read that headline right. Bill Donohue, the very vocal head of the Catholic League, has emailed organizers with a request to march in this year's New York City Gay Pride Parade.

But no, Donohue's inquiry is not a sign that he has had any kind of personal realization. He plans to march with a banner that reads, "Straight is Great." 

Donohue's plan was announced today on the website of GLAAD, the nation's leading lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy organization. (The press release also offers a litany of Donohue's previous anti-LGBT statements.)

As GLAAD notes, Donohue said recently in an interview with EWTN's "The World Over," "If I wanted to get into their gay pride parade with my own float with big banners saying 'straight is great,' they would have a right to feel put-upon and I wouldn't do that to them."

Donohue was responding to the decadeslong battle over the barring of gay and lesbian organizations from marching in the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. The issue was reignited this year because Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a significant break with tradition, refused to participate in this year's parade because of the ban. (The Guinness beer company also pulled their support of the event over the issue.)

So far, LGBT organizations have responded by warmly welcoming Donohue to the celebration.

GLAAD's president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, "As a fellow Irish New Yorker, I'm hoping Bill will march with me at NYC Pride. I look forward to the day when I can march openly with Bill in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade, and not be turned away because of who I am."

David Studinski, march director of NYC Pride, said, "Mr. Donohue and his group are free to participate in the 2014 March. His group's presence affirms the need for this year's Pride theme, 'We Have Won When We're One.' Straight is great -- as long as there's no hate," he said.

Chris Frederick, managing director of NYC Pride, added, "Straight allies are great. We have thousands of straight people participating in the Pride March, including Catholic groups, who support LGBT youth, families and married couples."

Donohue's participation could also spark his first conflict with one of his most ardent supporters: Cardinal Timothy Dolan. For years, Dolan has banned the Church of St. Francis Xavier from marching in the parade with a banner that reads, "A Roman Catholic Parish in New York City."

Assuming that the "Gay is Great" sign will also read "The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights," one must wonder if Dolan will place a similar restriction on Donohue's banner.

Stay tuned ...

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