By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com March 16 2014 5:34 PM ET
After failing to find a compromise with parade organizers, Boston mayor Martin Walsh refused to attend one of his city's most famous gatherings.
The Allied War Veteran's Council, which puts the parade together, said LGBT veterans and soldiers could only march if they put aside gay rights signs, clothing, or flags. The Roman Catholic-affiliated Council refused to budge, even with the Democratic mayor mediating between them and MassEquality, the state's LGBT rights organization.
Other Democrats did participate in the parade, held during freezing temperatures, including Roman Catholic congressman Stephen Lynch. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in the nation, but its religious roots remain strong, often leading to conflict between LGBT rights and church doctrine.
That conflict extends to much of the northeast; New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade, to be held Monday, also has limits on how gay particpants can be. Mayor Bill de Blasio will skip the festivities in response.
Corporate leaders are paying attention, with former parade sponsors Heineken and the parent company of Sam Adams dropping their support from the New York and Boston parades, respectively. Read more here.