Boss axed for gay nay

New York Post - - NEWS - By BRUCE GOLD­ING bruce.gold­ing@ny­post.com

The long­time chair­man of the St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade has been ousted over his hard­line op­po­si­tion to gay groups march­ing in the iconic pro­ces­sion.

John Dun­leavy was re­placed by a board mem­ber who was in­stru­men­tal in win­ning a spot this year for a gay group tied to of­fi­cial broad­caster WNBC, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment Wed­nes­day from the or­ga­ni­za­tion be­hind the an­nual March 17 march up Fifth Av­enue.

New Chair­man John La­hey was elected “with the au­tho­riza­tion to add a sec­ond les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der group to the pa­rade,” the state­ment added.

Tues­day’s de­ci­sion by the pa­rade’s board of di­rec­tors came five days after the US Supreme Court ruled that same­sex mar­riage was a right pro­tected by the US Con­sti­tu­tion, and fol­lowed a May ref­er­en­dum ap­prov­ing gay mar­riage in Ire­land.

La­hey, the pres­i­dent of Quin­nip­iac Univer­sity, and new Vice Chair­man John Fitzsim­mons were also au­tho­rized to ne­go­ti­ate a new broad­cast con­tract with WNBC, whose par­ent net­ work sent mem­bers of Out@NBCUniver­sal to march in this year’s pa­rade.

Their in­clu­sion marked the first time gays and les­bians were al­lowed to march be­hind their own ban­ner in the 254­year his­tory of the ven­er­a­ble pa­rade.

Many politi­cians — in­clud­ing Mayor de Bla­sio — have boy­cotted the pa­rade over its ex­clu­sion of gay groups that wanted to take part in it.

Dun­leavy, 76, had been chair­man of the pa­rade’s board since 1993, but faced grow­ing op­po­si­tion over his stance against the open par­tic­i­pa­tion of gays and les­bians.

The Ir­ishCen­tral.com Web site, which first re­ported Dun­leavy’s ouster, said his fate was all but sealed when the Ir­ish Voice news­pa­per re­ported last month that he said gay groups “would have a prob­lem” march­ing next year.

Sup­port­ers of gay rights ex­ulted at Dun­leavy’s de­par­ture, blast­ing him on so­cial me­dia as “ho­mo­pho­bic,” while one Dun­leavy backer tweeted a link to a col­umn blam­ing his ouster on the “Gaystapo.”


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