She couldn’t march in her city’s parade on St. Patrick’s Day, but Chris Quinn did talk to the President and Ireland’s leaders at the White House

On Tuesday, I noted that NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, one of the most powerful officials in New York City, once again wasn’t marching in her city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. A group of homophobes run that event and refuse to allow any gay representation. It’s archaic.

So, Chris found another venue to celebrate what she said was always a “high holiday in the Quinn household.” She was invited to the White House to celebrate with the leaders of Ireland and other famous Irish-Americans. Chris wrote about that event over Huffington:

I arrived almost embarrassingly early, fearful of long security lines. I eventually made my way to a reception in the Map Room, where I had the opportunity to speak briefly with the President. I told him and Mrs. Obama that I was the first Irish, first woman, and first openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council.

I told the President how grateful the Irish-American Community is for his strong and continued support of the peace in the North of Ireland. I then expressed my desire that he support issues of full LGBT equality, and suggested that a good early action would be to support a recent federal court ruling in San Francisco, requiring benefits to be extended to the same sex partners of court employees.

Our conversation flowed seamlessly from talk of the struggle for equality in the North of Ireland, to the ongoing fight for LGBT rights. And it set the tone for what would be a night of such interaction. I spoke with leaders from Ireland and openly gay political leaders from the U.S. about the broad struggle for civil rights of which we are all a part.

The event was a picture of inclusivity and the intermingling of cultures: I saw Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, Shaun Woodward, the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and openly gay DNC treasurer Andrew Tobias all celebrating together. President Obama spoke about his own Irish heritage, tracing a great, great, great grandfather back to the same county as Brian Cowen, the Irish Taoiseach, or Prime Minister.

It reminded me that in the past year we’ve seen our nation elect an African American president, and we’ve seen peace come to the North of Ireland. It reminded me of how absurd it is that we allow a small number of small minded individuals to tell an entire group of people that they cannot march proudly and openly in their parade. It reminded me that each day we move closer to inclusion and equality. And it made me proud to be Irish, proud to be a member of the LGBT community, and proud to be an American.

Very cool.

You’d think that by now the homophobes who run the NYC parade would notice that people of Ireland are much more progressive and more respectful.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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