A group of gay Veterans say they've been denied entry to Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade because of a rainbow flag. The issue - once thought to be resolved - has sparked boycott threats by the mayor and other officials.
OUTVETS, a group who represents US vets who identify as LGBTQ, met Wednesday with the Allied War Veterans Council, the council that organizes the parade, to learn more about why they had been rejected from participating. However, the meeting became 'heated' after the council told OUTVETS that they had been denied entry because their banner included a rainbow flag. The council says that the flag violates rules against 'promoting sexual orientation.'
Bryan Bishop, the founder of OUTVETS, reportedly declined to change the rainbow in their logo, pointing out it was the same design that had been used during the last two marches.
In a post on Facebook, OUTVETS wrote about their disappointment in the council's decision.
We just received word from the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council that OUTVETS has been denied entry into the 2017 South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade. While four members of the council advocated for our organization, the majority ruled against having OUTVETS in the parade. The Council did not give a clear reason, but, given the tenor of the Council's deliberations, one can assume it's because we are LGBTQ. This is a sad day for the LGBTQ community and for veterans of all backgrounds.
For years, the Allied War Veterans Council banned gay groups from participating in Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade, but in 2015, they voted to allow OUTVETS to participate. However, this year, the council voted 9-4 to keep the group out of the parade.
The decision to ban OUTVETS is not going over very well in Boston. Multiple people called for a boycott of this year's parade - including Boston mayor Martin Walsh who said he would not march in this year's parade if the group was not allowed to participate.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker also indicated he would not participate in the parade unless the issue was resolved.