I had New England Cable News on in the background while waiting for
Chris Matthews' show to go off the air Chris Hayes' show to come on the air, and my ears perked up when I heard a discussion about the ongoing controversy with respect to Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade.
As many folks here already know, Boston's new mayor, Marty Walsh, said on February 26 that he would not march in the South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade unless they lifted their ban on LGBT groups.
A few days ago the situation seemed to be resolved and it was announced that a group of "gay Irish veterans" was going to be allowed to march. Under the terms of the agreement, marchers would be barred from wearing T-shirts or holding signs that included the word gay or other references to sexual orientation (no other marching groups are allowed to carry signs either).
It seemed that the 20 year ban on LGBT groups in the St. Patrick's Day parade was finally over.
A Roman Catholic parochial school group decided to withdraw from the parade rather than share the street with gay people whom they knew were gay. Emphasis mine, since apparently parade organizers realize that it's pretty well certain than gay people are marching in the parade anyway:
“There are a lot of gay people that march in the parade,” [parade organizer] Wuschke said. “That’s a common misconception [that gay people cannot march in the event]. We don’t know who’s gay in the parade, and we don’t ban gay people. We ban gay demonstrations, people that are sending out the wrong messages, messages that we don’t agree with.But two days ago the decision was reversed and the deal pulled off the table. For now LGBT Veterans of Equality is not being allowed to march (and the parochial school is back in).
As I said, a lot of folks here know this backstory already.
But I am writing because of what I heard on NECN two hours ago. Follow me below the fleur de kos for the reason why my head is still spinning!
This woman named Wendy Murphy, billed as a legal analyst, was talking about the parade on a local news show. This was her explanation of why she thought the decision NOT to let the MassEquality group march was understandable:
Murphy: ...it sounds unfair to us cause it seems so mean. If you know Irish people that are gay, you can't make sense... why can't a gay Irish person march in the parade? But you have to remember if this were a parade of a different kind of group, let's say it was you know black activists wanting to celebrate being black, you would not want the KKK to show up and say "and you have to let us march in your parade". and the fact that those two interests clash, that there is this group... and the KKK has no protection so I don't want to--that's maybe that's not a good comparisonUm, WHAT?
Host: good example?
Murphy: but the point is that there are clashing very fundamental interests on both sides. one group saying don't discriminate, but that bumps up against this right to portray a message under the first amendment that is really a paramount interest. the first amendment sits at the top of the bill of rights because it is the most weighty, the most fundamental of rights in this particular dispute.
Host: so in this particular dispute the first amendment rights of the parade organizers
Murphy: that's right
Host: are supreme over the...
Murphy: cause it's their parade
Host: it's their parade, okay
Murphy: That's right if the gay organizers want to have a separate gay irish people's parade they can do that and they don't have to let somebody who has contrary views to theirs march in their parade.
WHAT? THE? FRAK?
How in the world is allowing an LGBT group to march in a St. Patrick's parade analogous in ANY WAY to having a KKK group at a Black pride march?
I know that Murphy tried to take her analogy back, but under the reasoning that the KKK is not "protected". THAT'S the reason she doesn't want to make the analogy? Not, um, all the other possible reasons why the analogy is not only false but insulting to black people and gay people? And gay people who are also black?
I'm not even sure what her first amendment remarks are supposed to mean. That the parade organizers' right to freedom of association means they can exclude LGBT marchers (unless they stay in the closet)? That it is a matter of "conflicting views" rather than discrimination? Being gay is not part of Irish Heritage? And the parade organizers have a "right to portray a message under the first amendment"? What message would that be, exactly? A message that excluding LGBT marchers from their parade is honorable somehow? That they are proud of their right to discriminate against an Irish LGBT group or a veterans LGBT group? Worst of all, they toss around the term "family friendly event" as if gay folks don't have and belong to families. GRRR!
This has been going on for more than 20 years, but eventually the Southie parade organizers are going to lose this battle. They cannot in essence have a private parade on public streets with police protection that is paid for by the taxes of all Bostonians, including the gay ones they won't allow to march. Or can they? IANAL, but it just doesn't make sense.
Southie, by reputation, haz a sad that it is not the homogenous community it was a generation or two ago. "Different" people are moving in and they have no control over that. But dagnabbit they can still maintain control over who marches in their parade! They may not be able to exclude folks in other places and times, but for now they have court ordered approval to discriminate, and they are going to cling to it as long as they can.
I hate to link to HuffPo, but this article makes several good points, and these two paragraphs are the heart of it:
Last month Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin denounced homophobia, saying, "Anybody who doesn't show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God," and that homophobia was "part of the culture we grew up in, but we have to grow out of it."I wish the regular host of the show I was watching, who is one of the few liberals on talk radio in this town, had been there to hear Ms. Murphy make her "Gay is to Irish Heritage as KKK is to Black Pride" analogy. I wonder how he might have reacted. Aren't the gay people who want to march Irish also? For any part of her bizarre analogy to be valid, the KKK people who wanted to march in the black pride parade would have to be black themselves!
This shift in attitude from official Ireland blatantly undermines claims from those in New York, Boston and elsewhere that public LGBT participation somehow contravenes Irish identity. If open LGBT participation in St. Patrick's Day parades are okay in Dublin, Cork and elsewhere, why not in New York and Boston?
Am I crazy, or is that Wendy Murphy quote above one of the most outrageous things anyone has ever said about LGBT exclusion from St. Patrick's day parades?
Woke up to find this on the rec list! Many thanks to the Rescue Rangers and the other groups who republished!
I want to add one more thing: there is always a lot of folderol around here on StP Day that "we are all Irish" or words to that effect. Lots of people with no Irish heritage are wearing green and eating green bagels and drinking green beer and wearing green carnations. Local media like to create a false sense of inclusion, as though "the whole city" is caught up in the festivities, and photographers hunt around for people of color to photograph. That's majorly annoying too, since EXclusion is such a big part of the parade history now.