No-Go for Pro-Homosexuality Advocates in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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A pro-homosexuality advocacy group has been denied permission to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston, after two years of being allowed to participate.

OUTVETS, an organization of homosexual veterans of the U.S. military, marched in the parade in 2015 and 2016.

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which runs the parade, reportedly voted 9-4 to reject the group’s application to march in the parade, which is scheduled for Sunday, March 19.

Parade organizers had not spoken publicly as of Wednesday afternoon and could not immediately be reached for comment by New Boston Post. But the rejected organization put the news on its Facebook page:

“We just received word from the South Boston Allied War Veterans that OUTVETS has been denied entry into the 2017 South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. While four members of the council advocated for our organization, the majority ruled against having OUTVETS in the parade. While the reason for our denial is unclear, one can only assume it’s because we are LGBTQ.”

The group cited the unexpected death of parade organizer Brian Mahoney on November 16 as a contributing factor. Mahoney supported the group’s participation in the parade and was instrumental in getting the council to approve the group on a 5-4 vote in late 2014, which allowed them to participate in March 2015.

Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, expressed support for parade organizers.

“They have a Supreme Court decision that specifically upholds their right to keep the parade about St Patrick and not to have it high-jacked by a sexually oriented agenda,” Beckwith said in an email message.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston is almost always held on the Sunday nearest March 17, which is the feast of St. Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland about 1,600 years ago.

Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh have announced they won’t march in the parade unless parade organizers allow OUTVETS to march.

The Boston Globe first reported the news on Wednesday morning.

The parade has a long history with homosexuality advocates. In 1992 a group describing itself as homosexual and bi-sexual Irish-Americans applied to participate, got turned down, and then marched after a state judge issued an injunction forcing their inclusion on the grounds that the parade was a “public accommodation” that could not exclude people based on their sexual orientation under state law.

A similar series of events happened the next year, leading to the inclusion of the pro-homosexuality organization.

In 1994 parade organizers cancelled the parade rather than comply with the court order. In 1995 parade organizers asked a judge if they could hold a parade to protest the court’s decision. When the judge gave the green light, parade organizers responded with a parade that began with black limousines in front with signs protesting the decision, followed after a distance by the regular St. Patrick’s Day Parade, minus pro-homosexuality advocates.

Then in June 1995 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 to overturn lower court decisions and allow the parade organizers to decide who can march and who can’t.