For the first time ever, an LGBT group (yes, only one) will be allowed to march openly in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade. And Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and an Irish-American with a long track record of opposing LGBT equality, is the grand marshal.
But that’s not the funny part here. Dolan is surprisingly on board with the parade allowing LGBT people; other Catholics, however, had comically panicked reactions.
The most hilarious of these came from Catholic League president Bill Donohue (below, left), who essentially told journalist Michelangelo Signorile that he’s afraid of gays masturbating publicly during the parade.
“Here’s the hitch,” Donohue said, about allowing gays to march. “They do have dress requirements and other kinds of strictures. The question is, ‘Will the gays behave?’ Gays have been known to take their clothes off in the parade. They can’t keep their pants on sometimes when they march in the gay pride parade.”
When told that in fact the St. Patrick’s Day Parade gets quite unruly, with reports of drunkenness, violence and police run-ins each year, with heterosexual people certainly not “behaving,” Donohue insisted that they still “keep our pants on,” though he acknowledged he’s never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans where many heterosexuals certainly engage in sexual expression, sometimes unclothed.
“We keep our pants on,” he said. “You guys have masturbated on the street. I have pictures of what went on in the Stonewall 1994 gay pride parade that you couldn’t put on CNN or publish in The New York Times. Men and women went naked in the street in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I think it is a ‘wow’ when men can’t keep their pants on when they march.”
Wow is right! Other religious groups are accusing Dolan of pandering to gay groups and calling on him to bow out of the parade.
National Catholic Register writer Pat Archbold called the archbishop’s participation a “total capitulation to gay identity groups.”
Catholic World News editor Philip Lawler said Dolan must step down as grand marshal and admit the parade no longer has ties to religious tradition. It has become just another civic event, Lawler argues.
But Dolan has done a surprisingly good job of holding his own and supporting the LGBT group’s participation — all things considered, of course. Since resigning as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he’s made more generally supportive statements regarding LGBT people, even though he’s still unarguably anti-marriage-equality.
This includes words of kindness and support for Michael Sam, the first openly LGBT person drafted into the NFL, and echoing Pope Francis‘ words advocating for spiritual unity.
Last year, Dolan said that he supported lesbians and gays marching in the parade.
“I know that there are [already] thousands and thousands of gay people marching in this parade. I know it. And I’m glad they are,” he said.
When asked on ABC News last year about LGBT Catholics who felt rejected by the Church, Dolan issued an answer that seemed to follow in Pope Francis’ example.
“The first thing I’d say to them is, ‘I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness,'” Dolan told the Sunday talk show This Week.
There’s a lot to react to here: I’m glad the parade is open to queer groups, I wish more than one group were allowed, and I’m not surprised at either Cardinal Dolan’s appointment to grand marshal nor his wishy-washy support of LGBT people at the parade.
What’s worth remembering, though, is that some extreme Christians think that the only reason gays get together is for public masturbation sessions. Man, oh man.