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Mayor Walsh Accused Of Pressuring Organizers Of Southie's St. Patrick's Day Parade

Members of OutVets, a group of gay military veterans, march in South Boston's 2015 St. Patrick's Day parade. Until 2015, gay rights groups had been barred by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council from marching in the parade. (Steven Senne/AP)
Members of OutVets, a group of gay military veterans, march in South Boston's 2015 St. Patrick's Day parade. Until 2015, gay rights groups had been barred by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council from marching in the parade. (Steven Senne/AP)
This article is more than 4 years old.

An attorney representing the organizers of South Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade is now alleging that Mayor Marty Walsh forced his clients into inviting an LGBT veterans group to march in the parade two years ago.

Chester Darling said Tuesday that he filed an amended complaint to an earlier civil lawsuit accusing Walsh of strong-arming organizers in 2014 through a series of thinly veiled threats.

Darling told WBUR he has a voicemail in which the mayor apologizes, saying he shouldn't have snapped.

"All his activities and meetings and shouting at the guy that organized the thing because he wouldn't let folks in the parade, that's an attempt to control the exercise of my client's rights," Darling said. "It's a slam dunk."

The parade has long been embroiled in legal controversy, including a 1995 ruling allowing members of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council from excluding groups from the parade on the grounds of free speech.

The lawsuit claims that Walsh ignored the court's order and violated the council's civil rights.

Walsh maintains that he was within his legal rights to encourage organizers to allow OUTVETS to march.

With reporting by the Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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