Will Boston St. Patrick's Parade Embrace Gay Group?
Members of MassEquality, one of the biggest gay rights groups in Massachusetts will be allowed to march in Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade, a tradition in several cities that has shut out many LGBT people over the years.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh intervened to break the 20-year ban on LGBT groups, by saying he would boycott the parade if the ban continued. Though the details are still being worked out, according to the New York Times and Reuters, parade organizer Philip J. Wuschke said, "it will happen."
At this point, members from MassEquality are still working on a provision that will allow members to wear LGBT-related t-shirts or carry signs that promote gay rights. While members of the organization said they are pleased to be considered for the parade, the invitation may not be enough.
"MassEquality has not accepted any invitation to march, and will only consider accepting an invitation that allows LGBT people to march openly," the organization said in a statement Saturday. "We have heard from LGBT people who are Irish, who are veterans, and many others who would like to march in the Parade and to be able to express all of who they are. LGBT people should not have to silence who they are to celebrate other parts of their identities."
Still, Tim Duros, the lead organizer, said the goal is to "keep the parade an Irish parade." He said that means no political protests or statements are allowed during the festivities, and that includes references to sexual orientation.
"Everyone knows who they are," he said, referring to MassEquality. "They're a good organization, they help LGBT veterans, and if they help veterans they're OK with us."