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St. Patrick's Day Parade Banned Gay Vets Over Rainbow Banner


"Our Code of Conduct prohibits the advertisement or display of one's sexual orientation," said the organizers of the Boston march.

There may be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow -- but displaying one is against the rules at the St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston.

The Allied War Veterans Council made headlines this week for banning OutVets, a group of LGBT veterans, from its march this year. After a backlash from the public, sponsors, and politicians, including Mayor Marty Walsh, the council blamed the organization's colorful banner, which it claimed broke the rules.

"OutVets was informed that our 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 statement said, according to the Associated Press.

The council voted 9-4 against this year's participation of OutVets, which claims it has marched with a rainbow banner for the past two years without incident. The council also said the group was late in submitting its 2017 application.

OutVets made the news of its exclusion public in a Tuesday Facebook post, noting, "This is a sad day for the LGBTQ community and for veterans of all backgrounds."

In response, Mayor Walsh said he would boycott the parade, with Gov. Charlie Baker and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch also saying they would be unlikely to participate.

"I will not tolerate discrimination in our city of any form," Walsh said in a statement. "We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city."

Due to the backlash, the council will reportedly meet Friday to reconsider OutVets' application.

This is not the first time the 116-year-old parade -- one of the nation's largest -- has clashed with gay rights. The council, citing conflict with the Catholic Church, has banned OutVets and other LGBT groups in years past. In 1995, it even defended and won its right to exclude them in a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The council technically lifted this ban in 2015 -- although the current controversy has revealed that the rainbow flag and "display of one's sexual orientation" are still verboten.

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