For first time in more than two decades, a gay organization is allowed to march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Gay and lesbian groups have been banned form marching in the South Boston parade since 1993. And since then, parade organizers had cited a 1995 Supreme Court decision that upheld the parade’s right to exclude certain groups, including gays. (Via WHDH)
This year Boston's Irish Mayor Martin Walsh had said he would boycott the parade unless LGBT groups were included. (Via The Daily Free Press)
WALSH: "It’s important to have equality. It’s important that anytime we have an event in the city of Boston its a great occasion. St Patty’s day for the past 20 years, there’s been a cloud over it." (Via WFTX)
Now, for the past four years, a statewide gay advocacy group called MassEquality had applied to participate — and each time their application was denied. (Via YouTube / Antknee729)
On Saturday, the parade organizers did extend an invitation to MassEquality — but there's a sticking point. MassEquality can’t wear any clothing or hold any signs that refer to their sexual orientation.
As you might imagine, the group balked at the deal. But here's how one parade organizer defended the offer to the Los Angeles Times:
"They are going to be marching with a 'Happy St. Patrick’s Day' sign. That’s it, … "It’s a day of celebration, not demonstration. We’re there to send a message about St. Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day, and if they choose to abide by that, they are welcome."
MassEquality hasn’t said whether it will participate, but its director says she’s optimistic a deal can be reached that satisfies everyone. Telling the Boston Globe:
“At this point, my mind is open, and I’m hopeful we can get to a place where we can end the exclusion .. This is huge.” (Via The Boston Globe)
The three-hour long parade kicks off March 15. It's the second-largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the country, behind New York City.