Organisers of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston have denied banning a gay veteran group from marching in the 2017 parade.
Outvets posted on their Facebook page this week that they had been denied entry by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council.
“While four members of the council advocated for our organisation, the majority ruled against having OUTVETS in the parade.
“The Council did not give a clear reason, but, given the tenor of the Council's deliberations, one can assume it's because we are LGBTQ. This is a sad day for the LGBTQ community and for veterans of all backgrounds.”
The group mentioned that they had marched in the parade since 2015 without an issue and would be holding an informal gathering instead of attending the official celebrations.
Now, the organisers are denying that the group was ever denied entry, only that they weren’t allowed to march with rainbow flags.
“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 South Boston Allied War Veterans wrote in a statement.
"We do not ban any persons or Groups based on their sexual orientation. However, we, the Committee, will not allow the advertisement or display of one’s sexual orientation as a topic that should in any way be depicted as a theme of our parade."
The Council went on to say that "sexual orientation as a topic” would not be in line with the parade’s religious, cultural and historical themes.
The Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh said he would be boycotting the annual parade after Outvets were told not to participate.
"I will not tolerate discrimination in our city of any form," said Walsh in a statement. “We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city."