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Gay Group Wants To March ‘Openly’ In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade

BOSTON — A gay rights advocacy group is pushing for gay people to be allowed to march “openly and honestly” in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

On Saturday, MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini said a group of gay military veterans would be allowed to march under its banner as part of a tentative deal with parade organizers. That deal would not, however, allow marchers to wear clothing or hold signs that refer to sexual orientation.

But the deal hasn’t been finalized. And Coredini said Monday the group wants the marchers to be able to identify themselves as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Coredini says MassEquality members met with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and the parade organizer Sunday to discuss concerns.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll get to a place where we’ll be marching in the parade, but we’re not there yet,” Coredini said.

Tim Duross, the parade coordinator, said the two sides have reached a stalemate. He said the parade sponsor, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, wants the focus of the parade to be on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

“The fact that they need to identify themselves as openly gay veterans is kind of where the stalemate lies. I don’t know why that’s so important in this parade,” Duross said.

Duross said the parade sponsors plan to discuss the MassEquality request during a meeting Tuesday night.

Mayor Walsh said all parties “remain optimistic that a solution can be reached to allow for an inclusive celebration.”

“I’m grateful to both groups for the open-mindedness and courage they continue to display as we work through this,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Immaculate Heart of Mary School, near Worcester, said Monday its band will not march in this year’s parade because of the participation of MassEquality.

“Pope John Paul II came out and said that homosexual acts are acts of great depravity, and he said under no circumstance can they be approved,” Brother Thomas Dalton, the school’s principal, said to WBUR about the decision.

Students from the school have marched in the parade for 24 years.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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  • TheLongViewdotOrg

    Irish[-Americans] have a long and continued history in Boston. Why does the parade have to be a venue for politics? Can’t we just stick to Irish culture? Anyone should be able to participate, but the THEME isn’t drag queen. The theme is Irish. And I don’t believe it’s a venue for any political clamor.

    Please think of the kids who want to enjoy this. Do they have to be part of every adult battle? Can’t they just enjoy a simple parade? Note that I’d be just as pleased to see a gay parade some other day myself, and join in to support my gay friends and family.

    • mamram

      Some Irish people are gay, so clearly gay culture is part of Irish culture and vice versa. There’s no way to “just stick to Irish culture” and exclude LGBT identity without basically telling some people that they’re not welcome to participate on the same level as everyone else.

      • Lawrence

        Right, but if it’s a Irish Cultural parade then the Irish that participate should flaunt their Irishness not their gayness. That’s what I think she meant.

        • mamram

          Lots of people participating in the parade flaunt aspects of their identity other than just being Irish, and that doesn’t seem to bother anyone. For instance, I haven’t heard anyone suggest that these folks should be flaunting their Irishness and not the fact that they are veterans. So I have trouble believing that this is just about celebrating Irish culture to the exclusion of everything else. It seems like some people want LGBT identity specifically erased from the parade, and that’s exactly why LGBT visibility is so important.

    • Dan

      Nobody said anything about drag queens. It sounds like some people want to wear clothing that says that they are gay and veterans, because they are proud of both. Drag Queens are a very specific sub culture. There is a huge difference between Drag Queens and wearing a rainbow shirt.

  • Reverend

    Brother Thomas Dalton should update his papal quotes and listen to what the current Pope, Francis, has said recently about, “Who am I to judge?” when it comes to homosexuals. Times are changing in the Catholic church, and this school needs to pay attention. At a time when Catholic schools are closing-down across the country, and the Commonwealth, due to low-enrollment, this, very unfortunately, is an example of why.

    • Rebecca Noyes

      Exactly what I was going to note Reverend! As a member of both the Irish-Catholic Massachusetts community, and a member of the LGBT community, I find the dispute disheartening. The LGBT community today is being marginalized and prosecuted the same way the Irish Catholic community was in the early 19th century. I’d like to think that parade officials and school directors would recognize that and take action to combat that discrimination by acting as allies and allowing the MassEquality group to march openly and honestly in the parade.

  • Jon McCasper

    To freedom’s detriment, the false definition of liberty, as the power of centralized government to do specific things, has become widely accepted within self-proclaimed progressive circles.

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