Wow, my least favourite person, Rupert Murdoch, up against my three favourite things, Ireland, drinking, and homosexuality.
From the NYT's The Lede blog:
"Responding to the news that Guinness had withdrawn its sponsorship of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York over the continued exclusion of gay groups from the festivities, Rupert Murdoch called on the people of Ireland and their cousins in the diaspora to retaliate by boycotting the beer.
Where will this end? Guinness pulls out of religious parade bullied by gay orgs who try to take it over. Hope all Irish boycott the stuff
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) 17 Mar 14"
The Lede correctly notes that queer floats are, and have for a long time been, welcome in Ireland's St. Patrick's Day celebrations, and that Murdoch's call badly misjudges Irish cultural attitudes:
"But perhaps he failed to reckon with the fact that, as the gay Irish Senator David Norris explained to The Christian Science Monitor this week, gay groups have been welcome to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin for decades. "I find it extraordinary that Irish-Americans can be so far behind the actual inhabitants of the island of Ireland," Mr. Norris said, adding that several years ago "the gay float won first prize in our national St. Patrick's Day Parade."
Although the issue may still divide Irish-Americans, the acceptance of gay rights is now so mainstream in Ireland that the state broadcaster, RTE, recently broadcast a comedy sketch that mocked the concept embraced by Mr. Murdoch, that it is lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists who are the bullies. The faux news report, which contains some strong language, recounted the struggles of "an activist against antihomophobia" in Dublin trying to make the Irish public aware of "the damage caused by bullying homophobes."
It's not like either Boston's or New York's parade is organized by the cities' Irish-American communities as a whole, though. Boston's is organized by a US military veterans' group, New York's by a Christian organization. Both the US military and Christianity have a, uh, let's say troubled history with LGBT people and Norris is wrong to take their actions as a reflection of the attitudes of Irish-Americans in general.