After 22 Years, New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Chairman John Dunleavy, Kicked Out for Refusing to Allow Homosexual Groups in the Parade

© Provided by New York Daily News John Dunleavy, 78, was ousted Tuesday as the St. Patrick's Day Parade chairman. - Marcus Santos
© Provided by New York Daily News John Dunleavy, 78, was ousted Tuesday as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade chairman. – Marcus Santos

St. Patrick’s Day Parade chairman John Dunleavy has been ousted after 22 years following a decades-long dispute over the inclusion of gay groups at the annual march down Fifth Ave., according to a report. 

The decision, made Tuesday afternoon following a meeting involving the parade’s board, comes just four days after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the United States.

But Dunleavy, the 78-year-old Irish-American lead organizer of the country’s biggest St. Pat’s celebration, had long withstood the tides of change, even as his homeland voted in May to legalize gay unions. Only one gay group, employees at NBC Universal, was allowed in this year’s parade after advertisers and politicians alike boycotted the march for the blatant discrimination. It was the first time in the parade’s 254-year history such a group was allowed in.

Dunleavy was so enraged by the group’s inclusion, according to Irish Central, that he threatened to offer broadcast rights to a different network than NBC, which has aired the march for years.

And as recently as April, Dunleavy said gay groups would “have a problem” trying to find their way in among the throngs of marchers for the 2016 event, according to Irish Central, which first reported Dunleavy’s ouster.

At the time, Dunleavy promised to run for another term as chairman of the group, a position he has held since 1993.

“The parade itself is not there to promote anybody’s particular agenda in any way, shape or form,” he told a group during an April lunch, according to the outlet. “The parade represents our faith, our heritage and our culture, nothing more and nothing less. So we’re going to keep to that, and anybody who wants to mix that up is going to have a problem next year.”

Dunleavy’s hardline stance clashed with members of the organizing committee, at least one of whom threatened to resign if gays were not allowed to march in 2016.

John Lahey, the Quinnipiac University president and parade’s vice president, promised to leave his post as the chairman of the parade’s media deals if gay groups were once again banned, according to Irish Central.

“As we discussed at our recent meeting, I made some decisions with our advertisers’ input for the 2015 parade broadcast with which you and some other directors strongly disagree,”Lahey wrote in a May letter to Dunleavy obtained by the Irish Voice. “I don’t think it is a good thing for us to repeat this inconsistency in 2016, and whoever is chairman of TV and media for the 2016 parade needs the full support and clear direction from the Board of Directors.”

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Source: New York Daily News | Sasha Goldstein

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