- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2014

For the first time in 20 years, the president of the the Catholic League has announced the group will not be marching in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade next year.

The decision comes one week after parade organizers lifted a ban on gay groups marching under their own banners. Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the decision was based on parade organizers not allowing a pro-life group to march as well.

“Prior to the announcement that a gay group would march under its own banner in the 2015 parade, I was consulted by parade organizers about their plans,” he said in a statement, a New York CBS affiliate reported. “I told them that I could only support this decision if there were a formal revision in the parade’s rules governing marching units, and that is exactly what I said in my first public statement.

“To be specific,” he continued, “I asked them to pledge that a pro-life Catholic group would also be permitted. I was told that a formal change in the rules had been approved and that a pro-life group would march. Now I am being told that the list of marching units is set and that no pro-life group will march in next year’s parade. Accordingly, I have decided to withdraw our participation.”

Mr. Donahue said his decision has nothing to do with gays, but with the inconsistencies of the parade committee.

“It has to do with being betrayed by the parade committee. They not only told me one thing, and did another, they decided to include a gay group that is neither Catholic nor Irish while stiffing pro-life Catholics. This is as stunning as it is indefensible,” he said, the CBS affiliate reported.

The parade committee issued a brief response to the Catholic League’s decision not to march.

“That’s disappointing,” the group said in a statement. “The Catholic League is always welcome in the parade.”

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said last week that he was OK with the decision to allow the LGBT group to march. He will serve as the parade’s grand marshal next year.

“Attempts will now be made to pit me against Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Grand Marshal of the 2015 parade,” Mr. Donohue said, the station reported. “The suggestion that I am at odds with the New York Archbishop is not only false, it is despicable. Cardinal Dolan has no more rabid supporter than Bill Donohue, and nothing that has transpired recently changes anything.”

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