City leaders in Boston and New York have withdrawn from participating in today’s St. Patrick’s Day parades in their respective cities. The reason: gay rights.
The parade is expected to proceed as planned along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Monday despite the withdrawals of major sponsors like Guinness, the Dublin brewer known for its stout, and of city leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, over the issue of inclusiveness.
Organizers of the annual parade have said gay groups could march in the procession but could not carry signs or identify their sexuality. Organizers could not be immediately reached by telephone Sunday night.
Under threat of boycotts, both Guiness and Sam Adams beer makers dropped their sponsorship of the parades.
The cities don’t organize St. Patrick’s Day parades. Cities just hand out the permits and provide security. A group called the Ancient Order of Hibernians organizes St. Pat’s parades.
The AOH is not a secular organization. It’s among the oldest Irish Catholic organizations and charities in the United States. The AOH organizes the St. Pat’s parades to celebrate Irish Catholic heritage, history and beliefs.
The Constitution guarantees them the freedom of association, meaning that they can choose who they will and will not associate with and who they will and will not allow to march in their parades. They have the right to set the rules for their parades.
For now. Next year or the year after that, probably not.