Boston Mayor Walsh hopeful St. Patrick's Day parade organizers, activists can reach agreement

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March 3, 2014, 9:44 pm
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(NECN: Kathryn Sotnik, Boston) - The South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade is a source of disagreement this year.

A gay activist group, Mass Equality, is pushing for gay veterans to be allowed to march "openly and honestly," but at this point an agreement has not been reached with parade organizers, the Allied War Veterans Council.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh threatened to boycott the parade unless everyone could take part, and over the weekend it appeared the Mayor brokered a deal between the two.

Still, as of Monday night, nothing has been finalized.

"It's up to the two sides now to sit down and have a conversation. The balls in their court so hopefully they'll be able to come up with some compromises there," said Walsh.

This latest comes as the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Harvard, Mass., near Worcester, pulled their band and float out, after taking part in the parade for almost two decades.

They say they did so after learning that gay people will be allowed.

"It is disappointing. It is an every year event, but our Catholic faith comes first. It's against our morals," said junior student Joseph Duffy.

The Mayor said he had, "no real comment on that."

"They have reasons for not marching, that's there reasons," added Walsh.

Someone who knows the situation all too well is Chuck Colbert, who's Irish himself, a graduate of Notre Dame, and activist turned freelance journalist.

Back in the 1992 and 1993 St. Patrick's parades, he was one of a few dozen gay marchers who took part when the state courts forced the parade organizers to allow them to take part.

"This should be a celebration this is not confrontation, at least that's my hope," said Colbert.

Walsh says for now, he's going to let the two sides, the parade organizers, and the activist group work it out on among themselves but says at some point if he has to step in, he will.

Tags: Boston, massachusetts, Saint Patrick's Day, St Patricks day, St. Patrick's Day parade, LGBT, St. Patrick’s Day, Allied War Veterans Council, kathryn sotnik, gay rights activitst, Mass Equality
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