A gay veterans group from the U.S. military will be allowed to march in the upcoming 2017 Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, said parade organizers on Friday following a previous move to ban them having sparked boycott threats and outrage in the predominately liberal city.
Parade Organizers and Complaints
The parade is one of America’s largest events honoring the Irish-Americans that live in the region, and previously excluded participants who are openly gay, citing that allowing them to join would be in conflict with the organizers’ beliefs of Roman Catholicism.
Back in 2015, the organizers had agreed that they would allow one gay veterans’ group named OUTVETS to participate in the march after facing pressure from officials in the city as well as sponsors who would pull their financing.
Ongoing Issue Between Religious Groups and Gay Community
The fight, which lasted for decades, over being included in celebrations regarding Ireland’s patron saint was reignited this week after OUTVETS stated that organizers in control of the parade, which is 116 years old, said to them that they wouldn’t be invited to participate in the event on March 19.
Organizers stated that the group participating in the event would cause church groups to cancel their places in the march. However, the Allied War Council, the group that runs the parade, held an emergency meeting in which they agreed to let OUTVETS march this season.
“We are honored and humbled by all the outpouring of support that has been displayed for our LGBTQ veterans,” said OUTVETS in a recent statement. “We look forward to marching proudly on March 19th and honoring the service and sacrifice of those brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country.”
The Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade has had many controversies in the past few years.