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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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