Dear Editor: I first participated in New York’s great St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1938, became a delegate in 1958, was an Aide to Grand Marshal Paul O’Dwyer in 1974, and was myself the Grand Marshal in 1986. I can tell you without reservation that no one was ever prohibited from participating in this parade because of their sexual orientation. All this controversy is media made and totally untrue.
Our faith tells us all men are created equal and as Pope Francis stated, “Who am I to judge?” We cannot and do not discriminate against anyone! For the past 255 years, this celebration has been exclusively in tribute to St. Patrick, a Catholic bishop. In fact, it’s America’s oldest and the world’s largest civilian parade.
Now, a non-traditional group wishes to intimidate us into allowing a banner in the parade promoting a lifestyle that is contrary to the teachings of our Church. Common sense will tell you this is nothing more than harassment and an attempt to deny us our religious freedom.
Incidentally my grandfather, John O’Hagan, was the 1929 Grand Marshal and I could see him and former Parade Chairman Judge James J. Comerford looking down from heaven in bewilderment as to why a few people serving on the Parade Committee would tend to destroy this great Irish-American institution.
Shame on them, they don’t belong on this committee and never did!