Word that New York City for the first time will allow an openly gay group to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade was no surprise to the committee that runs Philadelphia’s parade.
Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade director Michael Bradley says his group has never had a ban.
“We don’t have any policy that excludes any one. We have rules to follow for people to come into the parade, to profess their Irish roots, promote their Irish heritage and religion,” Bradley said. “To have a policy just excluding certain people to me, in my mind, is just like playing God. When do we start excluding left-handers, redheads or this one or that one. It’s 2014.”
There are ways, Bradley said, that you can be thrown out of the parade.
“If any group gets out of hand at the parade or has inappropriate dress or acts up and doesn’t seem to promote their Irish heritage or culture, they are going to get thrown out,” he said. “But we’ve thrown out groups that would be considered very strong Irish Catholics from the neighborhoods in Philadelphia because they’ve made fools of themselves drinking.”
Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade ended its ban on openly gay marchers this year. The New York celebration was under pressure to change after the Guinness Brewery dropped its sponsorship over the issue.