Bloomberg Chooses St. Patrick Over Rabbi Kleinbaum

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of New York's LGBT synagogue, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, and one of the grand marshals of the city's LGBT Pride March, criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg for refusing to march with the community past St. Patrick's Cathedral and only entering it at 48th Street – and exiting north of 23rd Street before the march swung through Greenwich Village. For the 25 blocks he walked, he was with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn who started marching from 52nd Street.

“Shame on you, Mr. Bloomberg,” she said at a press conference for Heritage of Pride kicking off the march at 52nd Street. “We expect you to be at the head of the march.”

Ed Skyler, a deputy mayor, told the New York Sun, “The mayor wants to avoid some of the disrespectful acts that have taken place near St. Patrick's Cathedral during the past parades.” Mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani similarly dissed march participants in this way, with only David Dinkins marching the entire route.

While some marchers shout “Shame!” at the symbol of the anti-gay Catholic Church, nothing worthy of condemnation by the Catholic League has been noted in recent years. Still, on LGBT Pride Day, St. Patrick's resembles a fortress cordoned off by police barricades, with no one allowed to stand on its steps or enter through its front doors.

Several Fifth Avenue churches send their ministers and congregants out into the streets to serve cups of water to thirsty marchers, an idea that does not seem to have occurred to Cardinal Edward Egan or the rector of St. Patrick's.