Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Parade Does Not Discriminate Based on Sexual Orientation

In response to my inquiries, the Irish Society for Education & Charity issued the following statement:

Be assured that the Parade Committee does not discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability, and has never denied anyone entry in the parade based on this criteria.  Criteria for selection include, but is not limited to, the following:  past positive participation in the parade; Irish groups, individuals and organizations that celebrate the regions Irish heritage; and other individuals, groups and organizations with a particular public interest.

This came from Parade President Martin Madigan.

I am not aware of any specific group being turned down (or applying.) As I mentioned, this began as an intellectual exercise in response to the situation in Boston and took on more urgency when Mayor Peduto announced plans to fund the police detail with City funds.

I did ask Mr. Madigan to clarify, but I’m realistic that the parade is four days away so I may not get more clarity until after the fact if then. His list of protected classes is not quite in line with the City’s Human Relations Ordinance so I hope that’s something that has been discussed.

Regardless, it is clear that LGBTQ organizations are not inherently banned (notice they said gender and sexual orientation) from applying to march. Obviously, we would not meet the criteria of previous participation and I’m not aware of any groups specific to Irish queer identity so we would be in the category of “particular public interest.”


I’m satisfied that there is no conflict with the City’s Human Relations Ordinance for the Mayor to fund the police detail at this parade. That decision opens a can of worms for every other parade, but that’s for another day.

In Boston, Mayor Martin Walsh has been brokering the participation of LGBTQ groups in the annual parade, promising to boycott the event if an accord cannot be reached. New York’s Mayor de Blasio opted to boycott the main parade because of its ban on LGBTQ tee shirts or signage.

I never called for a boycott, just clarity. Now we have it and that’s how the 4.5 Estate works, right? Back to your regularly scheduled reading now.


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