LGBTQ veterans group not allowed to march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s parade

BOSTON (WHDH) - Organizers for South Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade said a group of LGBTQ veterans will not be allowed to march this year.

While the group, OutVets, has marched in the parade for the past two years, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council decided against it this year. Organizers said this is not about discrimination but about the parade’s code of conduct. The code states that any group marching cannot display anything pertaining to sexuality and organizers said the group’s rainbow flag does.

OutVets called the reason an “excuse” and said it is a disgrace.

“This is not about a parade. This is about discriminating people who served this country who raised their right hand and put themselves second to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” said Bryan Bishop of OutVets.

Parade organizer Tim Duross said OutVets is the “best dressed” group they have in the parade and they have never had any problems with the group before. He said the council did have concerns, which is why they opted not to let them march.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker both said they will not march if OutVets is not allowed. The grand marshal of the parade also resigned in the wake of the news. Stop & Shop also pulled out of sponsoring the parade:

“Stop & Shop is committed to diversity and is disappointed in the decision to exclude OutVets from the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The men and women from OutVets, who have bravely served our country, deserve our respect and to be included. As a result of the organizer’s decision, our South Boston store will no longer sponsor the parade.”

Duross said another vote on the matter will be held on Friday.

OutVets issued the following statement Thursday on the situation:

“OUTVETS is humbled and moved by the outpouring of support from so many of our elected officials, our brother and sister veterans, and many many others around the Allied War Veterans’ Council’s decision to exclude OUTVETS from this year’s parade.  We are encouraged by this unequivocal support for LGBTQ veterans and the LGBTQ community as a whole.  Discrimination against one is discrimination against all. We hope for a positive resolution to this situation and hope it is resolved in a timely manner.”

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