Boston St Patrick’s Day parade reverses ban on gay veterans

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The organisers of Boston’s St Patrick’s Day parade have allowed a group of LGBT veterans to march.

The Allied War Veterans Council voted to allow OutVets, a group for LGBT former soldiers, to march in next year’s parade. They had previously banned LGBT groups.

The founder, Bryan Bishop told the Boston Globe “I think it’s very significant. Ensuring that there is 100 percent inclusivity is important.”

The mayor of Boston Martin J Walsh had tried to negotiate between the parade organisers and LGBT groups to ensure LGBT representation in last years parade but was unsuccessful. He refused to march in the parade this year, for the first time, over the issue.

His press secretary said: “Mayor Walsh has been advocating for an inclusive parade for quite some time We’re thrilled to hear that the South Boston Allied Veterans have decided to make the 2015 parade an inclusive event”

In 1995 the Supreme Court ruled that the event could discriminate against LGBT groups under the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Brian Mahoney, commander of the Veterans Council, said “We weren’t thrilled last year that the mayor didn’t march, but we always kept open a courteous conversation.

“To other people, it will be a big thing. But to us, it’s a group of veterans that wanted to march and deserved to be honored.”