U.S. News


Boston Mayor Skips St. Patrick's Day Parade Over LGBT Ban

Mayor Marty Walsh said he skipped the event completely over the failure of organizers to reach a compromise with LGBT groups.
Posted at 11:02 PM, Mar 16, 2014

Boston's newly-elected mayor Marty Walsh skipped his first St. Patrick's Day parade as mayor Sunday, after parade organizers couldn't reach an agreement with LGBT activists.

The Allied War Veteran's Council, which hosts the parade, has come under fire for forbidding gay and lesbian veteran groups from marching openly. Walsh had threatened to boycott the parade unless the policy was overturned. (Via WHDH)

The council's policy had already prompted Boston Beer Company, makers of Sam Adams beer, to cancel their sponsorship of this year's parade. (Via The Boston Globe)

The mayor told  WFXT talks between parade organizers and LGBT advocacy groups Saturday almost led to a solution, but ultimately failed when the sides couldn't agree on a parade banner.

"Everyone agreed that we'd let gay veterans and law enforcement officials march in the parade, but one person wouldn't budge on the banner. So I'm not marching in the parade if people can't express who they are."

Not everyone at the parade was happy with the mayor's decision.

"He should have marched. He's the mayor, he's part of the city, the parade's part of the city — he should have marched."

"This is a parade for veterans, for a good Irish day, you know? Just leave the politics out." (Via New England Cable News)

But MassEquality, the group who initially pushed for LGBT representation in the parade, praised Walsh for "championing full inclusion all the way until the end."

"There are Irish people who are LGBT, there are veterans who are LGBT, and they want to be able to walk down this parade rout and not have to choose which identity they can display." (Via MSNBC)

Boston's not the only city facing a St. Patrick's Day boycott over LGBT issues. Heineken, Guinness, and the Boston Beer Company have all pulled out of sponsoring New York City's famous St. Paddy's parade, and mayor Bill DeBlasio has vowed not to participate.