Happy St. Patrick's Day from MSNBC: 'Tradition of Irish Catholicism Was a Bigotry Against LGBT People'

On Monday's MSNBC News Nation, host Tamron Hall teed up Michael O'Loughlin from The Advocate to promote his screed against the St. Patrick's Day parade organizers in New York and Boston for not allowing gay demonstrations at the respective events. Hall wondered: "What do you believe is the hold up at this point?...you see polls across the country where people, in their views of same-sex marriage of people who are gay and lesbian, greatly changed over the past ten years or so." [Listen to the audio]

O'Loughlin ranted: "You know, no one loves tradition like the Irish. And unfortunately, part of the tradition of Irish Catholicism was a bigotry against LGBT people." Moments later he predicted: "Give it a year and who knows where we'll be." Hall agreed: "Absolutely. And give it a year and the list of sponsors who may pull out of these parades could be longer as well."

Later in the exchange, Hall cited O'Loughlin's Advocate Op/Ed: "...you wrote, 'It wasn't long ago in this country that the Irish and Roman Catholics were both subject to extreme bigotry.' I think it's a significant point as we have this conversation, as you pointed out in your piece."

O'Loughlin replied:

Sure. You know, my father keeps a sign in our kitchen at home, "No Irish need apply," just to remember the bigotry that the Irish experienced in this country when they first came over. So it's unfortunate that some Irish people who are leading these parades are kind of passing that bigotry on. But I'm hopeful that in the next few years we'll see a change.

Here is a full transcript of the March 17 segment:

11:49 AM ET

TAMRON HALL: Welcome back. Decked out in green, crowds are lined up along New York City's Fifth Avenue to take part in the biggest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country. Well, in a stunning announcement late yesterday, Irish beer-maker Guinness dropped its sponsorship, citing the event's policy of exclusion of the gay and lesbian groups.

Under the parade's organizer's policies, members of the LGBT community are allowed to March. However, they cannot carry signs identifying their sexual orientation.

The company, which is the biggest sponsor of the parade, released a statement saying in part, "Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all."

The bold move by Guinness joins a growing list of those protesting the policy, including Heineken, which pulled out last week, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who's boycotting the parade as well.

The almost exact situation clouded Boston's parade yesterday, with the city's mayor Marty Walsh also boycotting and the maker of Sam Adam's beer withdrawing its sponsorship.

Joining me now, Michael O'Loughlin, contributor for The Advocate magazine, who recently wrote about the controversy. Michael, thanks for your time here.

MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN: Sure, happy St. Patrick's Day.

HALL: I am so curious by the actions taken by these major sponsors, if the policies will change this time next year?

O'LOUGHLIN: You know, I think they will. You know, back in 1995, the Supreme Court said that these organizers had a right to discriminate and we support their free speech rights, but sponsors and politicians also have the right not to participate. And there's been an impressively fast shift in support for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. So it's not surprising that there's increasingly a lot of backlash this time of year against these parades.

HALL: So for clarification here, so people understand. If you are gay, you can – if you're a firefighter whose gay, you can march with your firefighter group and go along. But if you're in an organization that identifies itself as a lesbian/gay organization, you cannot have your banner in the parade in New York City.

O'LOUGHLIN: Sure. And it's important to remember that for LGBT people who have been kept in the closet for so long, it's not helpful to ask them to go march back into the closet and not identify with a core part of themselves.

HALL: What do you believe is the hold up at this point? To your point, I mean, listen, you see polls across the country where people, in their views of same-sex marriage of people who are gay and lesbian, greatly changed over the past ten years or so. We're talking major cities here as well, Boston and New York, which bucks the perception that these kinds of things only happen in small towns like where I'm from. But rather, these are big-city problems that are counter to the polling nationally.

O'LOUGHLIN: You know, no one loves tradition like the Irish. And unfortunately, part of the tradition of Irish Catholicism was a bigotry against LGBT people. Now with Pope Francis and other Catholic leaders saying, "Let's take another look at these things," I think the Church and the military – the parade in Boston's sponsored by a military group – they've both come around and said, you know, this isn't right. So it'll be slow, but hopefully by this time next year there'll be a compromise. We almost saw a compromise in Boston this year with a group of openly gay soldiers marching. So give it a year and who knows where we'll be.

HALL: Absolutely. And give it a year and the list of sponsors who may pull out of these parades could be longer as well.

I'm curious, I mean, usually when a company pulls out sponsorship – yes, they have their core values, as Heineken says, "We believe in equality for all. We are no longer sponsors of Monday's parade." But we also know that they are in fear of losing business.

O'LOUGHLIN: Sure, and you know, as public perception increasingly supports LGBT people, I think companies have to realize that they need to be on right side of history. And it's great that a few prominent sponsors this year decided to take that step and support-

HALL: And – go ahead, I'm sorry.

O'LOUGHLIN: Oh, no. And just support the right of LGBT people to be themselves.

HALL: And just quickly here, you wrote, "It wasn't long ago in this country that the Irish and Roman Catholics were both subject to extreme bigotry." I think it's a significant point as we have this conversation, as you pointed out in your piece.

O'LOUGHLIN: Sure. You know, my father keeps a sign in our kitchen at home, "No Irish need apply," just to remember the bigotry that the Irish experienced in this country when they first came over. So it's unfortunate that some Irish people who are leading these parades are kind of passing that bigotry on. But I'm hopeful that in the next few years we'll see a change.

HALL: Alright, Michael O'Loughlin, thank you so much for joining us, The Advocate magazine. We greatly appreciate, Michael, thank you.

O'LOUGHLIN: Great, thank you.

HALL: Happy St. Patrick's Day, by the way.

O'LOUGHLIN: You, too.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.