On February 12, three mayoral hopefuls, Fernando Ferrer, Ruth Messinger and Rev. Al Sharpton, met with representatives of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) to declare their unwillingness to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade unless ILGO is allowed to march; ILGO has been denied the right to march in the parade by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the parade’s sponsor, and has lost in court in attempts to force their way into the march.
William Donohue of the Catholic League commented on this incident:
“The Catholic League is delighted that Mr. Ferrer, Ms. Messinger and Rev. Sharpton will not be marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Anyone who sides with those who would defame the parade’s heritage should not participate. We are equally delighted that Mayor Giuliani has decided to ignore ILGO’s bait and will march in the parade.
“Catholic voters comprise 43 percent of the New York City electorate. The Catholic League will do its best to inform them of the decision by Ferrer, Messinger and Sharpton to identify with those who have long sought to disrupt this important day for Irish Catholics. Those who associate themselves with ILGO necessarily express their contempt for Catholics by honoring the politics of exclusion: it is simply not possible to honor St. Patrick if those who would besmirch his honor were allowed to prevail.
“The only good news about ILGO is their increasing political irrelevancy, and the only good news about Ferrer, Messinger and Sharpton is that they have now contributed to their own political irrelevancy by siding with ILGO.