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After slight, James Gaughran gets NYC parade invite

State Sen. James Gaughran, seen on Dec. 14,

State Sen. James Gaughran, seen on Dec. 14, 2018. Credit: Barry Sloan

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State Sen. James Gaughran is going to be showing off his Irish in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade after all -- and it’s a much bigger party than the one that booted the first-term Democrat.

Gaughran’s been called up to the big leagues, asked to march in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday with Grand Marshal Brian O’Dwyer.

The invite came after The Point reported last week that Gaughran was disinvited from the Huntington St. Patrick’s Day Parade held on March 10, and had his membership in the local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians revoked. The expulsion of Gaughran, who served as grand marshal of the Huntington parade in 1986, was the work of the Rev. Msgr. Steve R. Camp. The reason was Gaughran’s vote to, in his eyes, safeguard the right to an abortion in New York, and in the eyes of some Catholic dioceses in the state, expand abortion rights by making it clear an abortion can be performed at any time during a pregnancy if the health of the mother is a concern, and by moving abortion law from the state’s criminal code to its health code.

Angered, Gaughran wrote to Camp (to which he said he’s received no response) decrying the idea of a parade “purity test,” and pointed out that politicians who oppose other church teachings, like its anti-death penalty stance, have not faced similar exclusion. His exclusion prompted some local groups to threaten a boycott of the Huntington parade and spurred talk of a counter-parade. Asked about it, Gaughran said: “I asked people to support the Huntington parade and the community as they always have.”

The New York City parade has had its own famous battles over excluding openly homosexual groups of marchers, and Mayor Bill de Blasio boycotted the parade until it allowed all such groups to openly participate in 2016.

Gaughran, who takes pride in his heritage, may be late to Saturday’s parade, though, as Long Island business takes precedence. The parade runs from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Gaughran has a town-hall meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. at Northport High School, and the general topic is the Long Island Power Authority.

With local ire running high over LIPA’s lawsuit to dramatically lower its property taxes on the Northport power plant (and dramatically raise them on local homeowners), Gaughran’s Ireland-related duties might have to start late.