St. Patrick’s Day Parade Organizers Holding Firm, For Now
By NBP Staff | March 9, 2017, 22:54 EDT
Displaying the rainbow flag violates the code of conduct for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston and that’s why a group that consists of homosexual veterans is so far not being allowed to march, parade organizers said Thursday.
The code prohibits “the advertisement or display of one’s sexual orientation.”
“The Council established the Code of Conduct to protect the theme and historic integrity of the Parade. Since its founding in 1901, the Parade has been a celebration of country, community, and the Catholic faith,” parade organizers said in a press release. “The question at hand is not one of inclusion or discrimination. The Council is accepting of all people and organizations, but it will not permit messages that conflict with the overall theme of the Parade.”
But organizers said they haven’t yet rejected the application by OUTVETS to march.
Parade organizers and members of OUTVETS were in talks Thursday in anticipation of an emergency meeting Friday of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which runs the parade, according to a story in The Boston Globe.
Parade organizers are feeling heat from sponsors, other veterans groups, and politicians.
Here below is the text of a press release posted Thursday on the web site of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council:
The Allied Council wishes to address rumors and accusations regarding our Saint Patrick’s Day/Evacuation Day Parade and the Outvets organization.
Firstly, Outvets has not been officially notified that they will not be allowed to march in the Parade. The Council reviews the parade presentations of all applicants prior to any official acceptance. 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 Council established the Code of Conduct to protect the theme and historic integrity of the Parade. Since its founding in 1901, the Parade has been a celebration of country, community, and the Catholic faith. The question at hand is not one of inclusion or discrimination. The Council is accepting of all people and organizations, but it will not permit messages that conflict with the overall theme of the Parade.
It should be noted that the Council’s position on such issues is neutral and not one-sided. For example, previous displays of the Rainbow Coalition flag have led to the loss of support from Catholic organizations that had been in the Parade since the 1940’s. Also, the Council routinely bars controversial groups from across the political spectrum. As with any large public event, there are groups who would seek to use the Parade as a platform for their own advocacy. The Code of Conduct was intended to reduce this risk, and to balance the expectations and concerns of participants and spectators alike.
The Council has received numerous vitriolic and hate-filled emails from people who are uninformed of the facts. This year, Outvets did not submit its application before the deadline. The Council sometimes makes exceptions for late applicants, but in order for Outvets to be considered for participation in the Parade, the Organization must address the Code of Conduct violation.
Lastly, the Code Of Conduct was intended to create reasonable standards around Parade messaging and participation, and the Council expects all applicants, including Outvets, to comply.