Mayor Walsh: “I’ll be Unable to Participate in the Parade”

Boston Mayor Marty J. Wlash  Photo: City of Boston (cityofboston.gov)

Boston Mayor Marty J. Walsh
Photo: City of Boston (cityofboston.gov)
Boston Skyline photo by Wikipedia

MassEquality Reacts to the Decision

BOSTON – After unsuccessful negotiations with the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers, Allied War Veteran’s Council, to try to allow LGBT veterans to openly participate in their parade, Mayor Marty Walsh released a statement that he will not participate in the parade, a press release from the Mayor’s Office stated.

In it, Mayor Walsh said: “The St. Patrick’s Day parade was born out of the celebration of Evacuation Day, a day set aside to recognize and honor our military and those brave Americans who have banded together for the sake of freedom. And so much of our Irish history has been shaped by the fight against oppression. 

As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city. Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible.—Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

“I’m disappointed that this year, I will be unable to participate in the parade. As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city. Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible.

“I look forward to participating in this morning’s breakfast with my friend Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, and I plan to spend the afternoon with my family. On behalf of my entire staff, we wish the entire city a happy Saint Patrick’s Day.”

A report by the Boston Globe earlier today reported that “more than 45 city councilors, state legislators who represent Boston, statewide elected officials, US representatives and senators, and gubernatorial hopefuls are set to miss the event Sunday, said the politicians or their aides.”

Immediately after the Mayor’s statement, MassEquality released its own statement about the Mayor’s decision.

“MassEquality is pleased that Mayor Walsh has kept his promise to sit out the 2014 South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade since parade organizers continue to ban LGBT groups from marching openly. 

While we are disappointed that we did not get to march this year as we had hoped, we thank the Mayor for championing full inclusion all the way until the end. —Kara Coredini, MassEquality ED

It can be difficult for people who are not LGBT to understand how important it is for LGBT people to be able to be open and honest about who they are and how wounding it can be to be asked to be not too out. MassEquality had hoped that a small group of LGBT veterans that we work with would have been able to march behind their standard – a rainbow flag – and a banner identifying them as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans associated with MassEquality. That hope was informed by what many GLIB marchers told us would begin some healing of the wounds created by the harassment and violence they experienced when they marched openly decades ago.

As of this morning, parade organizers were quoted in the media continuing to insist that LGBT marchers hide their sexual orientation. No other group is asked to march without a banner and their standard – not the police, firefighters, or the Irish. A double standard is the status quo and does not represent progress.

While we are disappointed that we did not get to march this year as we had hoped, we thank the Mayor for championing full inclusion all the way until the end. We are encouraged by today’s small step forward with the inclusion of a ‘diversity’ float, and we hope that it is a sign that next year applications from LGBT groups, like MassEquality, that wish to join the celebration of Irish heritage and the service and sacrifice of veterans, will be accepted on their own merits and the decades long ban can finally be lifted.”

Earlier today the Boston Herald reported that many corporate sponsors and supporters of the parade were no longer supporting the parade:

“First the Westin Waterfront. Gone. Then Gillette. Then Clear Channel’s JAM’N 94.5, which used to send a float. Then Entercom’s WAAF 97.7/107.3, which sent a float with a station banner. Then Entercom’s WEEI 93.7, which sent station street teams to hand out Red Sox schedules along the route. Then CBS local’s Mix 104.1 and AMP 103.3, which used to send station cars. Then Great Media’s Hot 96.9 FM. Gone, gone, gone, gone, and gone.”

MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

[From News Releases]

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