Michelangelo Signorile “Appalled” That NBC Sells TV Time To Anti-Gay St. Pat’s Organizers

It’s 2012, and in New York State gays and lesbians have full civil rights, including marriage equality. Gays are no longer banned in the U.S. military. But they are still banned from Fifth Avenue’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in an embarrassing throwback for everyone involved.

It’s frankly appalling that NBC, and now its parent company Comcast, still sells the broadcast rights (on its local affiliate, WNBC) to the intolerant bunch that runs the parade—in 2007, that amount was $300,000—and then helps the organizers sell advertising to major companies. More than that, one of NBC’s top executives—a man who aids the organizers in getting those ad dollars—was chosen as this year’s Grand Marshall…

Sure, it’s debatable whether selling the broadcast rights to a parade that admittedly excludes a minority group violates the FCC’s diversity rules. But it’s certainly something that LGBT activists would argue, bringing a lot of attention to the issue. Comcast may not want that fight now…

The truth is, most LGBT activists weren’t focused on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade all these years, with bigger fish to fry. But many are now looking at this as unfinished business—as I said, an embarrassment in a state where we now have marriage rights—and they are also seeing Comcast as a company that is very vulnerable. If Comcast doesn’t want a battle on its hands—a battle it will ultimately lose, after much p.r. erosion—it will make sure that March 18, 2012 is the beginning of the end of the ban on gays in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The Huffington Post‘s Michelangelo Signorile thinks that gays will be able to march in Manhattan’s St. Patrick Parade in 2013