Organizers of Boston's St. Patrick's
Day Parade on Friday reversed course, saying they would allow a gay
veterans group to participate in next week's parade.
the AP, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council last week
voted against allowing OutVets to march. The vote drew immediate
condemnation from politicians and activists and on social media, and
prompted some sponsors and participants to withdraw their support.
On Friday night, the council voted
unanimously to permanently accept OutVets into the St. Patrick's Day
“We are honored and humbled by all
the outpouring of support that has been displayed for our LGBTQ
Veterans – who are one of the most unrepresented demographics in
our Veterans community,” the group said in a statement. “We look
forward to marching proudly on March 19th and honoring the service
and sacrifice of those brave men and women who have sacrificed for
OutVets Executive Director Bryan Bishop
had said that they had been told that the decision to bar them from
the parade was because of their rainbow symbols. The group displays
the rainbow flag on its banner and on their jackets.
Bishop said that they had been told
that they could remain in the parade if they did not display the
rainbow flag, which the group has displayed in prior parades.
“It infuriates me to look at the
veterans that I know, gay and straight, who have served this country
with valor and honor and distinction, and just because you’re a
veteran who happens to be gay your service is somehow less than
someone who is not of the LGBT community or someone who’s not
gay,’’ Bishop told the AP.
After refusing for decades to allow gay
groups to participate in the annual parade – going so far as to
take their case to the Supreme Court, which in 1995 sided with the
council – OutVets was first allowed to march in 2015.
In a statement released Thursday, the
council said that its original decision had been misinterpreted.