The Equality Debate In The St. Patrick's Day Parade

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Boston is a city of deeply rooted traditions and history. It's also a city of change and modern tendencies, and sometimes, these two sides of the city's character come into conflict.

Which brings us to the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston — the second largest St. Paddy's Day celebration in the country after New York's. It would be hard to imagine a local neighborhood event anywhere getting the kind of attention that this one seems to get every year.

Even the U.S. Supreme Court had to chime in a few years back — when it ruled that because the parade is paid for with private funds, organizers can exclude anyone they want. Thus, they have historically excluded gay and lesbian groups. But like much of the city, South Boston's traditional ways have changed, and parade organizers — the Allied War Veteran's Council — are inching closer to reflecting that change: by allowing gay and lesbian advocates to march under certain conditions.

Organizers invited the advocacy group, MassEquality, to march if they avoid explicit displays of gay pride, including shirts and signs bearing the word "gay."


Kara Coredini, executive director of MassEquality.


WBUR, "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."

This segment aired on March 3, 2014.


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