Working Toward Parade Inclusion
Make no mistake - progress was made this year. The Allied War Veterans moved closer to allowing LGBT groups into the parade they organize, the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston. The US Supreme Court, in 1995 affirmed the organizers’ right to decide who can participate in the parade (Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston), and that decision also allows the Boston Pride Committee to refuse admittance of anti-gay groups in the Boston LGBT Pride parade.
The Allied Veterans sat down with LGBT advocates, discussed the implications of their ban on gay groups with City leaders, experienced the negative reaction of sponsors. Hopefully it was a teaching moment.
Rightfully, attention on the parade comes round every February. There are steps the LGBT community can take over the next eleven months to help make inclusion in the parade happen next St. Paddy’s Day.
1) Call and thank those who didn’t march or pulled their support (see below).
2) Express your disappointment to those who did march.
3) Contact your city councillor and suggest the Boston City Council draft a home rule petition banning the issuance of parade permits to organizations who do not adhere to the city’s non-discrimination policy. Religious organizations would be exempt, as long as the religious organization is the organizer of the event.
4) Contact your city councillor and the mayor and suggest that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade be moved from South Boston to Bolyston Street, Boston. The cost to the city would be dramatically reduced if the parade were moved from South Boston.
5) LGBT veterans should launch a formally recognized group with 5013C status.
6) Support the Veterans for Peace.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Recap
• The people of South Boston
• Lower End’s "diversity float," marched with pride.
• Mayor Martin Walsh, didn’t march with pride.
• Elected officials who didn’t march
• Veterans for Peace