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Pride parade welcomes Catholic League's Donohue's request to march

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, in his office Tuesday, May 12, 1998, in Manhattan. Credit: AP / Marty Donohue

Catholic League president Bill Donohue said Thursday that he and his group plan to march with a banner in the city's gay pride parade to promote his anti-gay-marriage views.

LGBT groups said they have no problem with the group's intentions and welcome its presence for the June 29 Manhattan parade.

Donohue, who blasted the mayor, City Council and several beer companies for dropping their support of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manhattan, said he wanted to challenge the parade's organizers' claim that the celebration is for everyone.

"Why don't they respect us when it comes to the St. Patrick's Day Parade?" he told conservative host Steve Malzberg on his Web show Thursday.

David Studinski, the march director for NYC Pride, which organizes the parade and other events in the week leading up to the march, said he had no problem with the Catholic League participating with the banner.

"His group's presence affirms the need for this year's Pride theme, 'We Have Won When We're One.' Straight is great -- as long as there's no hate," he said in a statement.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and chief executive of the gay rights advocacy group, GLAAD, agreed. She noted that several straight and Catholic organizations have marched alongside LGBT groups in the parade to promote equality. "As a fellow Irish New Yorker, I'm hoping Bill will march with me at NYC Pride," Ellis said in a statement.

She added that she hoped she could march with Donohue in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in the near future.

Donohue said he will continue his call on people to ban the beer companies that pulled their sponsorship from this week's parade, especially Guinness.

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