Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade Allows Gay Vets to March

 

OutVets will now be allowed to march in Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

In an emergency meeting Friday, the Allied War Veterans Council, which organizes the 116-year-old celebration of Irish heritage, reconsidered and accepted the application of the LGBT veterans.

"Acceptance letter signed by Parade Organizer to allow @OutVets to march in 2017 parade," the council posted on the parade's Twitter account.

The council initially rejected the application, due to a claim that its "Code of Conduct prohibits the advertisement or display of one's sexual orientation, and that the rainbow flag on its banners and logo was in violation of this rule."

The move incited intense backlash from the public as well as high-profile politicians, including the Boston mayor and Massachusetts governor, who criticized the parade for being discriminatory. Moreover, sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, considered pulling out.

"I will not tolerate discrimination in our city of any form," said Mayor Marty Walsh, who vowed to boycott the event. "We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city."

OutVets announced it had received the acceptance letter on Facebook — but had not yet announced whether it would still march.

"OutVets is in receipt of a letter from the Allied War Veterans Council. We are actively reviewing it," the post read.

Dan Magoon, the parade's chief marshal, who resigned in solidarity with the LGBT veterans, told CNN he was still boycotting the event; he also had expected more than a tweet in response to the controversy.

"Quite honestly, from my view, the damage has been done," he said. "I still will be standing by OutVets and see what their decision process is. I'm still not participating in the parade."

Earlier this week, organizers met with OutVets' Bryan Bishop and asked him to march without a rainbow banner. He refused.

"This is not a political issue, this is an issue of discrimination against those who served," Bishop told CNN.

OutVets did thank its allies for "the outpouring of support" Friday on Facebook.

"OUTVETS continues to be humbled and thankful for the outpouring of support from around the world. This is an overwhelming situation for not only OUTVETS, but our Veterans, their families and the LGBTQ community," the organization wrote.

"Again, on behalf of the men and women who have proudly and honorably served our nation and who continue to serve we thank you."

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