The decision of some New York politicians not to march in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade shows preference for the interests of Jews over Catholics.

Dr. William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, made the following comments today:

“In an incredible show of unadulterated bigotry, favoritism and hypocrisy, several New York office holders have decided that they will not march in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, even though they marched in the Salute to Israel Parade last spring. The sponsors of these events, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the American Zionist Youth Foundation, respectively, have consistently rejected, on moral and religious grounds, the appeals of gays and lesbians to march as a separate group in their parades. [Note: the New York Times, in its March 15th editorial, incorrectly said that ‘the Hibernians are the only ones staging a march that excludes people because they are open about a different sexual orientation.’] But only the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is targeted for a boycott by certain politicians.

“In the Salute to Israel Parade that occurred on May 9, 1993, notables such as Gov. Mario Cuomo,  Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, Comptroller Alan Hevesi (he was then a New York State Assemblyman) and Public Advocate Mark Green (at the time he was Director of Consumer Affairs) joined in the march even though a contingent of gays and lesbians were barred from attending. These same people now tell us that they will not parade with Irish Catholics because gays and lesbians have been denied the right to march as a separate unit.

“The decision by Cuomo, Messinger, Hevesi and Green shows more than contempt for principle: it shows preferential treatment of Jews over Catholics. The utter contempt that these office holders have for the interests of Catholics–and in particular for the Irish–along with their politically correct posture toward Jews, demonstrates a new low in New York politics. More respect is due those few who elected to boycott both parades than to those who marched with Jews while snubbing Catholics.

“Hypocrisy among politicians is not exceptional. What is exceptional is the openness and boldness of this rank display of favoritism.”

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. It defends the right of Catholics–lay and clergy alike–to participate in American life without defamation or discrimination.

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