Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade organizers have reversed a decision that had some of the city's political leaders threatening to boycott the annual event. The organizers are going to allow OutVets, a gay veterans group, to march in the parade.
This comes after OutVets announced they had "been denied a spot" in the parade via their Facebook page. The LGBTQ group had been "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."
But the parade organizers announced OutVet's inclusion via Twitter yesterday.
Acceptance letter signed by Parade Organizer to allow @OUTVETS to march in 2017 parade.
— St. Patrick's Parade (@ParadeBoston) March 10, 2017
While this may be a milestone for the parade, other users are convinced that "allowing" LGBTQ veterans to march is "too little too late" and that the organizers' "true colors have shown."
"OutVets is in receipt of a letter from the Allied War Veterans Council. We are actively reviewing it," ParadeBoston wrote on Facebook.
The brevity of the message instilled outrage from followers and surprise from former parade Chief Marshal Dan Magoon, who resigned from his post "in solidarity with OutVets."
"Quite honestly, from my view, the damage has been done," he said. "I still will be standing by OutVets and see what their decision process is. I'm still not participating in the parade."
The Allied War Veterans Council had allowed OutVets to march in the 2015 and 2016 parades even though they had won the 1995 Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Group of Boston case in the Supreme Court, which allowed them to deny a group if their message contradicted the Council.
Boston political leader Marty Walsh posted to Facebook that he would boycott the parade if the Council's exclusion of OutVets was not overturned, saying "anyone who values what our city stand for should do the same."
The Council's initial decision to keep OutVets from marching also promted Anheuser-Busch to re-evaluate their sponsorship of the event. According to CNN and WBZ, Stop & Shop has already dropped its support.
OutVet's Bryan Bishop met with members of the Council "to resolve the issue" but drew the line when they asked him to change the group's rainbow flag logo.
"This is not a political issue, this is an issue of discrimination against those who served," Bishop said.
OutVets is "humbled and thankful" that they have received so much support from Boston locals and people out of state.
The parade will take place on Sunday, March 19, 2017.