This year, New York City became the latest to allow an LGBT group to march in their St. Patrick’s Day parade; but LGBT groups here in Savannah say the Hostess City needs to catch up.
Billy Wooten, board chairman of the First City Network, the oldest LGBT group in Georgia, which is based in Savannah, said the group has applied to march in the Savannah St. Pat’s parade numerous times, to no avail.
They didn’t apply for the 2016 parade because of outside circumstances, but he said they did apply for the 2015 parade, and at least 14 others.
“When we’ve gotten a response it’s been ‘no,’ and most of the time we haven’t gotten a response,” said Wooten.
They also haven’t gotten any explanation as to why they haven’t been allowed to march.
FCN does plan to apply for the 2017 parade, and believes they will be allowed to march then – with the help of a new City of Savannah ordinance passed in December 2015.
He’s referring to an anti-discrimination ordinance that prevents city employees, and anyone applying for a permit with the city, to be discriminated against because of being LGBT.
But Wooten said he thinks it could also be used to push groups like the St. Patrick’s Day Committee to allow LGBT participation in their events.
“I’m not accusing them of discrimination or anything else but certainly we will have to ask the question of the city, ‘is this an issue that your new ordinance covers, and can we call into question their permit?'”
News 3 did reach out the the committee for comment, but Chairman Jerry Hogan said he was unable to meet with us on Friday and did not provide a statement about their policies either.