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Working Toward Parade Inclusion

by Sue O’Connell

Bay Windows

Thursday March 20, 2014

Make no mistake - progress was made this year. The Allied War Veterans moved closer to allowing LGBT groups into the parade they organize, the traditional St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston. The US Supreme Court, in 1995 affirmed the organizers' right to decide who can participate in the parade (Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston), and that decision also allows the Boston Pride Committee to refuse admittance of anti-gay groups in the Boston LGBT Pride parade.

The Allied Veterans sat down with LGBT advocates, discussed the implications of their ban on gay groups with City leaders, experienced the negative reaction of sponsors. Hopefully it was a teaching moment.

Rightfully, attention on the parade comes round every February. There are steps the LGBT community can take over the next eleven months to help make inclusion in the parade happen next St. Paddy's Day.

1) Call and thank those who didn't march or pulled their support (see below).

2) Express your disappointment to those who did march.

3) Contact your city councillor and suggest the Boston City Council draft a home rule petition banning the issuance of parade permits to organizations who do not adhere to the city's non-discrimination policy. Religious organizations would be exempt, as long as the religious organization is the organizer of the event.

4) Contact your city councillor and the mayor and suggest that the St. Patrick's Day Parade be moved from South Boston to Bolyston Street, Boston. The cost to the city would be dramatically reduced if the parade were moved from South Boston.

5) LGBT veterans should launch a formally recognized group with 5013C status.

6) Support the Veterans for Peace.

St. Patrick's Day Parade Recap


The people of South Boston

Lower End's "diversity float," marched with pride.

Mayor Martin Walsh, didn't march with pride.

Elected officials who didn't march

Veterans for Peace

Pulled sponsorships

Boston Beer Company / Sam Adams

CBS Local Radio Affiliates

Mix 104.1

WBZ - 1030

The Sports Hub 98.5

AMP Radio 103.3

WZLX - 100.7

Early Thought Leaders

State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, made history this year and hay last year

Maureen Dahill, of, South Boston's Pride.

Almost Heroes

Almost made it happen


Negotiated with Parade organizers,

pro-LGBT rights, but marched

Boston City Councillor At Large Michael Flaherty

US Representative Stephen Lynch

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