The Catholic League announced Thursday that it would not participate in next year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the group has been marching in the nation's oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day Parade for 20 years.

Donohue said the decision to sit out the parade stems from the exclusion of an anti-abortion group. The announcement came on the heels of the news that a gay group for the first time will march under its own banner in next year's parade.

“For the past two decades I have been the parade's most vocal defender of its rules,” Donohue said in a statement. “Repeatedly, I have said that gays have no more been banned from marching than pro-life Catholics have.”

A vocal opponent of gay rights, Donohue in February claimed he's opposed to New York's law allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry because marriage is not about love.