Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..
Organizers of New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade announced today that one LGBT support group, OUT@NBCUniversal, would be permitted to march under its own banner at the 2015 parade.
Parade organizers expressed support for Catholic teaching, and confirmed that Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York would be the grand marshal, according to a Sept. 3 story in The New York Times.
The New York Archdiocese quickly issued a statement from Cardinal Dolan that appeared to downplay the significance of the news.
The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee continues to have my confidence and support. Neither my predecessors as Archbishop of New York nor I have ever determined who would or would not march in this parade (or any of the other parades that march along Fifth Avenue, for that matter), but have always appreciated the cooperation of parade organizers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage. My predecessors and I have always left decisions on who would march to the organizers of the individual parades. As I do each year, I look forward to celebrating Mass in honor of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, and the Patron Saint of this Archdiocese, to begin the feast, and pray that the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us.
The Times noted that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had vowed, once again, to boycott the parade, citing rules that barred LGBT groups from marching under their own banners.
The Times suggested that church leaders had begun to reframe their approach to hot-button issues, following the lead of Pope Francis. The shift in tone, said the Times, marked a departure from the tenure of Cardinal John O'Connor of New York, who offered an unapologetic refusal to accommodate such groups.
Cardinal John O’Connor, capturing the sentiment at that time, declared that political correctness was not worth “one comma in the Apostles’ Creed.”
LGBT rights organizations applauded the policy shift and predicted that more groups from their community would officially take part in the parade in coming years. The Human Rights Campaign lauded possibly pivotal
decisions of iconic brewers Guinness, Heineken and Sam Adams for dropping their sponsorships of St. Patrick’s Day parades that perpetuate discrimination against LGBT groups by banning their participation.