A commentator who appeared Monday on Newsmax TV to debate the controversy over including a gay and lesbian group in New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade next year has called the contentious segment "the worst hit I've ever been a part of."
"I’ve been on TV with crazy people and bad hosts before, but this was the worst hit I’ve ever been a part of," Jimmy LaSalvia, the former leader of GOProud, a conservative gay group, told Mediaite. "I seemed to be the only one living in reality. It felt like an episode of 'The Twilight Zone.'"
LaSalvia sparred with radio host Rick Roberts during the news hit over the decision to include a gay organization in next year's parade for the first time in the procession's 252-year history.
Roberts, who explained the reasons some oppose including gays, claimed that pride parades often include elements that might be deemed unsavory to families — and that some might fear that risqué clothing and adult antics could, in turn, make their way into the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
He also decried the notion that the St. Patrick's Day event would possibly be turned into a political statement.
"We fall over ourselves trying to make political points when all we're trying to do is have a parade," Roberts said.
Host Ed Berliner followed these statements up by asking LaSalvia, "So is it not fair to say that the LGBT community needs to show the same respect anyone else would show, appearing in this parade?" — a question the former GOProud leader decried.
"I think that question is absurd, because that question is based on the premise that we're a bunch of crazy people walking around naked," he said. "To talk about the St. Patrick's Day parade not being political is absurd because it's been political since it's inception."
LaSalvia added that including gays and lesbians is important, as they've traditionally been "treated differently" in society. By allowing them to march in the parade, he believes it will make a public statement letting people know that gays are also a part of American society.
"Who doesn't know there are homosexuals?," Roberts shot back.
But LaSalvia, who was visibly irritated by the claims coming from his opponent, called it "offensive and absurd" to suggest that the issue is about "a sex parade."
Watch the heated segment below (begins around 6:00 mark):