Ireland’s President Mary McAleese Turns Down Grand Marshal Offer at NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Over Exclusion of Gays and Lesbians

Ireland’s President Mary McAleese has turned down an offer to be the Grand Marshal of New York City’s 250th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade over the event’s long-running rabid exclusion of LGBT marchers.

McAleese’s refusal to accept the grand marshal invite will come as major blow to parade officials who were intent on making the day an historic showcase. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York is now being considered a likely replacement.

Despite a reputation as a conservative Catholic when she took office, McAleese has become a firm advocate for marginalized groups in Irish societies including gay groups.

She is very popular with such groups and was risking putting one of the signature accomplishments of her presidency at risk if she accepted the New York invite to lead the parade.

“This was a no win for McAleese,” said one official.

“Becoming embroiled in a huge controversy on Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day with gay groups protesting her presence is not what her legacy is all about.”

I think its a great win for McAleese.  It shows that she has principals.  If only the American President and others in power here would worry about their legacies we’d all be better off.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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