Just days ago the gay veterans group OutVets was told they were not welcome in Boston’s St. Patricks’ Day parade. Now after the ban was reversed, the group has announced they will not only be walking, but leading this year’s parade.
“It’s been a long week, It’s been a long struggle, but the struggle is now over as we can celebrate true inclusion and diversity in the city of Boston,” said OutVets CEO Brian Bishop.
Last week, after two years of marching, the parade’s council members banned OutVets citing their rainbow flag logo as a violation of the event’s code of conduct. OutVets was founded on the values of pride, honor and sacrifice. They recognize and honor LGBTQ veterans and active service members.
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The initial decision not to allow the group to march was met with strong criticism. Local leaders including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker threatened to boycott the parade if decision was not reversed.
Parade organizers voted to end the ban for good and give OutVets a permanent spot in the parade on Friday night.
“We should be together as one marching in this parade,” said Parade Chief Marshal Dan Magoon.
OutVets member Eric Bullen says he was “overwhelmed” by the support and response from the community.”
OutVets hopes to have a total of 50 people marching with them at the parade on Sunday.