NYC, Boston: Banning Gays at St. Pat Parades 'Obscene'
It's long past time, writes Michael Tomasky
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2014 11:13 AM CDT
Alyssa Bowdre, center left, and Kia Dumas, center right, march with a rainbow flag in an alternative parade that follows behind the traditional St. Patrick's Day parade in the South Boston neighborhood...   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – The New York City and Boston St. Patrick's Day parades have received quite a bit of negative publicity this year for not allowing openly gay groups to march—a practice that Michael Tomasky calls "grotesque," "obscene," and "an abominable disgrace." In 2014, it's stunning that these bans still exist, Tomasky writes in the Daily Beast—especially considering that same-sex marriage is legal in both New York and Massachusetts. "In Dublin—Dublin! I daresay a more Irish city even than Boston—gays have marched for years." Same goes for Chicago, with no adverse effects.

The groups running these parades can ban whomever they want, because courts have typically—and rightly—held that private, "expressive" organizations can limit membership. But while the ban on gays may have made a little bit of sense decades ago, when "tensions on all these matters were high" and "the cultural battle lines were firm," they make zero sense now. "Any questions of gay belonging are long-since settled." Even the pope refuses to judge gay people. "The men making and enforcing this ban won’t just live in history, they’ll live in infamy." Click for Tomasky's full column.