LGBTQIA groups make history at parade

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






By Haley Costen
Staff Writer

patty_parade_02

Photo: The Boston Globe

For the first time in its 114-year history, the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade featured LGBTQIA organizations in its march through South Boston.

“I’m very excited,” Mayor Marty Walsh told the Boston Globe. “We can finally move beyond the issue of inclusiveness.”

It was also the first time a Boston chief executive walked the route in two decades.

Thomas Menino, the former longstanding mayor, had refused to attend the parade since 1995 when a Supreme Court ruling allowed organizers from the South Boston Allied War Veterans to deny the participation of gay organizations.

“It’s a huge step,” Mayor Walsh told the Boston Globe. “Society has changed. Southie has changed. Boston has changed. . . . I think this opens the door to putting years of controversy behind everybody.”

The 20-year-long mayoral boycott ended with the announcement on March 6 that the advocacy group Boston Pride and OUTVETS, an organization for gay veterans, would be marching with the parade.

“Most of us didn’t sleep last night because we were so excited. Today, we move forward in Boston. Today we set a new standard of inclusion and equality — and it’s just amazing,” OUTVETS founder and Air Force veteran told the Boston Herald.

The group had 27 participants representing every military branch.

Politicians were also in abundance at the festivities.

Governor Charlie Baker, Liuetenant Governor Karyn Polito were in attendance, as well as Senator Ed Markey and Representative Stephen Lynch. Meanwhile U.S. Representative Seth Moulton, an Iraq veteran, marched alongside OUTVETS.

“Gay rights are the civil rights fight of our generation,” Moulton told the Boston Globe last week.

But while the LGBTQIA groups received polite and sometimes raucous applause, not everyone was thrilled with their attendance in the parade.

Catholic organizations The Immaculate Heart of Mary School and state council of the Knights of Columbus both withdrew from the parade.

‘‘We don’t want to be seen as condoning homosexual activity and gay marriage,’’ the school’s principal, Brother Thomas Dalton, told Boston.com.

The leaders of the Knights of Columbus told The Boston Globe that they would not be attending because the event had “become politicized and divisive.”

“‘For us there is no political agenda. Our job is to ensure the visibility of our community, and our message is, be as respectful as you would be in our Boston Pride parade,’’ Boston Pride organizer Sylvain Bruni said.