The organizers of the 2012 Chicago Gay Pride Parade have agreed to delay the start of next year’s parade following objections from leaders and parishioners from a Roman Catholic church on the parade route because of concerns that it would interfere with their Sunday masses.
Parade organizers said the 2012 parade will start at noon in a statement Wednesday, following a compromise struck with Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward) and church leaders at a meeting last week.
“We discussed moving the start time back to 12:00 noon to help accommodate Sunday services along the parade route,” said Tunney in the statement. “After consulting with the various city departments, we believe this is an agreeable compromise to help keep the parade safe and manageable while respecting the diversity of our neighborhood.”
Leaders at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church at 708 W. Belmont Ave., said that the parade’s new route would cause parade attendees to block and interrupt their Sunday mass, which is scheduled at the same time as the previously planned parade kickoff.
The controversial decision to reroute the parade followed this year’s massive turnout of over 800,000 attendees, which presented challenges for the Chicago Police’s traffic management and crowd control. Organizers intended for an earlier start time, at 10 a.m., to curb drinking.
The pride parade is held every last Sunday in June.
Calls made to Richard Pfeiffer, the parade coordinator, were not immediately returned Wednesday night.