Group claims exclusion from parade due to LGBT support

File photo: 2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade
File photo: 2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A local organization is claiming that they have been banned from Cincinnati's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade due to their LGBT affiliation.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an organization aimed to ensure students are treated equally regardless of sexual orientation, say the protocol for applying to be in the parade was changed in order to exclude certain groups from participating.

In the past, applications for the St. Patrick's Day Parade were online and available to anyone who wanted to fill them out, but this year was different. For the 2014 parade, organizers sent out invitations to participate to certain organizations, a move GLSEN claims is purposely excluding.

In 2013 GLSEN's was barred from participation, and organization representatives say it is because their parade banner contained the words "Gay" and "Lesbian." They say they were discriminated then and this year as well when parade officials would not respond to their requests.

In FOX19's commitment to Balanced News, we reached out to parade organizers, who said the group was banned after 2012 for not following parade rules.

"The Parade should not be used for advancing any political party, social movement or cause.  The Parade has allowed participants to identify themselves and the organization they represent, but no solicitations are permitted by the marchers or in the crowd along the parade route," said a statement from parade organizers. It was the same statement they released last year in response to discrimination allegations.

After this same dispute took place last year, Cincinnati City Council amended the city's non-discrimination law to require parades accepting city funding to abide by the policy. However, due to budget cuts, The St. Patrick's Day Parade no longer receives city funds.

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.