The parade organizers — the Allied War Veterans Council — cited a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and bisexual Group of Boston, which held that parade organizers are legally able to exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from participating.
“The LGBT community in Massachusetts faces many issues more urgent than the ability to participate in a parade – youth homelessness, bullying, anti-transgender discrimination, HIV/AIDS, elder abuse, and more. But public rejection by parade organizers is significant in that it’s emblematic of the more life-altering rejection our community members face every day,” said Kara Suffredini, Executive Director of MassEquality, one of the two groups denied participation.
“It is disappointing that in this climate, parade organizers would choose to reject our application to participate in Sunday’s parade,” Suffredini said, in a statement.
Members of both groups are expected to take part in an alternative march known as the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade, which is scheduled to begin an hour after the main one along the same route.
The alternative parade is organized by the Greater Boston Chapter of the Veterans for Peace, and is in its second year.
Boston is not the only city to ban its LGBT citizens from their St. Patrick’s Day gathering.
The Irish LGBT advocacy group “Irish Queers” plans to hold a protest at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade because the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish-American Roman Catholic fraternal organization that sponsors the event, has excluded them from participating.