THE organizers of the Catonsville Fourth of July parade...


July 13, 1992

THE organizers of the Catonsville Fourth of July parade didn't exactly cover themselves with glory by their graceless handling of this year's event.

First, the Catonsville Celebrations Committee decided that a gay and lesbian veterans group could not march in the parade because they represented a particular "cause." Never mind that the 230-member group was just as proud to have served in the military as the other veteran groups who were allowed to be in the parade.

But then, as the Catonsville Times reported, the committee let a local church group enter a float that featured signs stating "Praise God for life," "Protect the unborn" and "Remember when life was an inalienable right?"

The signs raised objections from people who considered them to be expressing the anti-abortion cause. If the gay veterans were excluded for being too political, then this float should have been banned too, the critics said.

What seems to make the whole incident even sleazier is that a committee spokesman denied for weeks before the parade that an anti-abortion float would be part of the event, although Baltimore County police reportedly told the Times that they had advance word from the committee that the float would be included.

Usually we love a parade, but we're just as glad we skipped the tainted Catonsville event this year.

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