No references to sexual orientation allowed
BOSTON — Leaders of South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade have invited a gay advocacy group to march for the first time in decades – as long as group members don’t display their orientation.
The Boston Globe reports that parade coordinators have invited LGBT advocacy organization MassEquality to march in the parade and carry a banner, but no T-shirts or signs with the word “gay” or other references to sexual orientation are allowed.
Negotiators will work out final details in the coming week.
“We’d be happy to have them here,” Tim Duross, a parade coordinator, told The Globe. “But we’d rather you just wish everybody a happy St. Patrick’s Day and left it with that.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh brokered the agreement, and told The Globe that it was “probably the biggest step in 20 years” for the parade.
“Mayor Walsh and Congressman Stephen Lynch met today with parade organizers,” Walsh’s spokeswoman said in a statement. “It was a very positive meeting, and they remain optimistic that a solution can be reached that will work for all parties involved.”
The executive director of MassEquality told The Globe that the new development was “huge” and she was hopeful that her group could march, but declined to comment on the T-shirt and sign restrictions.
In 1995, parade organizers went to the US Supreme Court for their right to exclude gay and lesbian groups from the parade and won.
The parade had been boycotted by Mayor Thomas Menino but Walsh has said that he wanted to work with organizers to end the ban.