Leading anti-LGBT activist and head of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, emailed NYC Pride and asked to participate in the 44th annual NYC LGBT Pride March with a banner that reads “Straight is Great.”
GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis welcomed the drastic change for Donohue. “As a fellow Irish New Yorker, I'm hoping Bill will march with me at NYC Pride," Ellis said. "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."
“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,” said David Studinski, March Director of NYC Pride.
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 history has been one of tireless opposition against legal recognition of LGBT people, loving LGBT families, the science of sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS education. His extreme comments has earned him a profile on GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project. Some of his statements include the following:
- He continually refers to marriage equality as "crazy" and "one of the most bizarre ideas in human history," and he has equated the marriage equality movement with the "minority of people in South Africa who took away the rights of Black people."
- He insists “we’re not going to allow gay people to adopt children, that’s against nature, it’s against nature’s God.”
- He champions a program called Courage, which tells LGBT people that a chaste, celibate life is the only acceptable option
- On multiple occasions, Mr. Donohue has referred to AIDS as "self-inflicted" and due to going against "natural order."
And just a few weeks ago, Donohue gave an interview with World Over in which he stated "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." Video footage is at 12 minutes and 30 seconds:
LGBT and straight people have always been welcome at the March. In fact, straight people are often featured the most. A woman with a sign that read, "I'm Straight. I'm an ally and I'm a Mormon" was featured on MSNBC.com. Of course many organizations also include straight people, just look at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Gay, and the Lesbian and Straight Society of Baruch College (GLASS). And of course Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), which is an organization designed specifically for straight people and often one of the most popular and powerful.
YC Pride also welcomes several Catholic organizations and congregations, including DignityUSA, a LGBT-inclusive Catholic organization. The New York City parish of St. Francis Xavier has marched for several years, but has been told by Archbishop Timothy Dolan that they cannot display that they are a Roman Catholic parish. It remains to be seen if the same restriction will be placed on Bill Donohue.