Organisers of the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston have done a U-turn, and now say that gay veterans group, OUTVETS, will be allowed to march in the parade this year. The decision was unanimous.
Having been allowed to march in the 2015 parade, the veterans were then told last year that they were not invited to the 2016 parade. This is because many sponsors had withdrawn funding due to their ‘religious beliefs’, with organisers stating that it was against the parade’s Roman Catholic heritage.
However, an emergency meeting of the Allied War Council resulted in a unanimous vote to allow the gay group OUTVETS to march under the rainbow flag.
The gay veteran group have released a statement on their inclusion:
STATEMENT FROM OUTVETS ON THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
“OutVets was just informed that a vote was taken tonight by the Allied War Veterans Council. The vote was unanimous (11-0) to accept OutVets into the St. Patrick’s Day Parade permanently.
Additionally, we are encouraged by the further actions of the Council to reform their policies and procedures regarding management of this historic parade. These changes will make the parade more inclusive and transparent for the entire community.
We are honored and humbled by all the outpouring of support that has been displayed for our LGBTQ Veterans – who are one of the most unrepresented demographic in our Veterans community. We look forward to marching proudly on March 19th and honoring the service and sacrifice of those brave men and women who have given so much for our country”.
There was strong support for OUTVETS before the turnaround, on social media:
Tyler John Havey
Thank you all for your service to our Country. I apologize profusely for all of the hate and exclusion you have to deal with over an issue as absurd as this. Just know there are a whole group of people out there who support all of you for the brave and heroic people you are, and actually recognize WHY it is that you guys even do wanna march with your OutVets uniforms on in the first place. If a tiny rainbow flag on a shirt offends somebody, they need to consult with a psychiatrist because clearly they have a little too much on their mind. Be proud of your accomplishments and embrace each others diversity no matter what anyone says. And F anyone who says otherwise because they’re just saying so out of fear and ignorance. As long as you guys aren’t hurting anyone, them and their stupid opinions don’t matter.
THANK YOU for your service and for fighting not only your rights but for the rights of every single American. Gay – Straight – BISEXUAL – MEN – WOMEN – BLACK – WHITE & PURPLE. Without your voice none of us have a voice and ugly wins. You make our country proud and I can’t be more grateful for your courage and determination.
I support you!! Boston supports you!! Don’t let the fear and ignorance of a small number bring you down, when you’ve got the whole city behind you!!
Gays who served, especially during the time when being gay could get you discharged, deserve respect and recognition!
I think all vets are selfless but gay and lesbian vets have had it harder than most. I am hopeful that you will get to march proudly in the Boston parade. My family stands with you.