Gay veterans: We’ve been denied spot in St. Patrick’s parade

Gay veterans: We’ve been denied spot in St. Patrick’s parade
Military color guard marches in D.C. Pride Parade, June 2014. (Image via ABC 8 DC)

A gay veterans group said Wednesday it has been denied permission to march in this year’s Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade just two years after organizers made the groundbreaking decision to allow gay groups to participate for the first time.

The veterans group, OutVets, said on its Facebook page that the reason for the denial is unclear, but “one can only assume it’s because we are LGBTQ.”

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, the parade’s organizer, drew immediate condemnation from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who said he would not participate in this year’s parade, scheduled for March 19, unless the council reversed course.

“I will not tolerate discrimination in our city of any form,” he said in a statement. “We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city.”

Democratic State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, whose district includes South Boston, asked the council to reconsider its decision.

The vote left OutVets leadership stunned.

“It’s disgusting and disgraceful that they would do this to their own, because we are veterans like them,” said Bryan Bishop, an Air Force veteran who founded OutVets.

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