NEW YORK -- The president of the Catholic League, a vehemently anti-gay organisation in the US, has withdrawn his application to walk in New York’s 2014 Gay Pride event, which he was planning to do holding a sign saying, “Straight is great”.
The organisers of the parade had accepted Bill Donohue’s applications to march in the annual event, however the 66-year-old, who in the past has characterised investigations into sexual abuse in the Catholic church as “hysterical”, decided to not attend due to concerns over “gay training sessions”.
The proposition that the president of an anti-gay organisation would take part in New York's Pride event emerged from a row over the city’s recent St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the organisers of which banned gay groups from taking part. As such, many people boycotted the annual event, including left-leaning Mayor Bill de Blasio. Incensed, Donohue hatched a plan to apply to take part in New York's Pride celebrations along with his sign, no doubt expecting the organisers to reject him.
When LGBT officials publically accepted his application, Donohue was left scrambling for reasons not to take part. As such the Catholic activist came up with “gay training sessions”, telling local radio this week: “Quite frankly, as a straight guy, I don’t go to gay training sessions. I think I’m pretty much an untrainable guy when it comes to this thing.”
Of course, the “gay training sessions” have nothing to do with training people to be gay. As parade director Dave Studinski explained in an email to Gawker:
"We hold March information and safety sessions, referred to as group leader trainings, so our participants are fully aware of rules and procedures come event day. These trainings address line-up times, check-in locations, our moment of silence, dispersal activity, NYPD safety policies, attire and vehicle/sound permits. It is imperative group leaders know this information."