Not So Historic Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Outraged Organizer Says Gays Included By Mistake (VIDEO)

For the first time in more than a decade, gays were “allowed” to participate in Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Or so it would seem.

Since 1947 a group called the Allied War Veterans Council has been in complete control of the city’s huge St. Patrick’s Day parade, billed as “South Boston’s one and only St. Patrick’s Day Parade.” The group has the sole authority to determine who can and cannot participate in the celebration.

Sadly, organizers have denied LGBT groups the right to participate in the parade, defending their right to exclude others all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1995, the case, Hurley vs Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, upheld the right of the Allied War Veterans Council to deny certain groups the chance to participate.

But this year, according to just about everyone, all of that homophobic nonsense would become a thing of the past. Gay rights groups would finally be allowed to participate in the event.

A video from MSNBC, published on March 16, featured OutVets founder Bryan Bishop, discussing the history of discrimination that has surrounded the parade.

WCVB in Boston was live on the scene, as marchers from Boston Pride and OutVets made their way through the streets of South Boston.

In spite of a multitude of local and national headlines proclaiming things like ‘Boston Parade Welcomes Two Gay Groups‘ in the weeks leading up to the event, it seems that nothing of the sort actually happened.

On March 21, Allied War Veterans commander Brain R. Mahoney said that organizers were deceived into approving Boston Pride’s application to march in the parade.

In an op-ed published in South Boston Today, a local paper for which he serves as editor-in-chief, Mahoney stated that the council ‘innocently believed’ that the group Boston Pride was ‘an off-shoot of Boston Strong,’ a slogan that was often used in the city, following the Boston Marathon Bombing. He wrote:

“Any report that the Council voted on or even saw the application is either a misquote or complete fabrication,”

Oddly, the Boston Herald also quotes Mahoney as saying that the application, which he claims the council never saw, listed the organization as a “social organization with volunteers of Irish descent.”

Then he goes on to describe his interactions with the organization. He wrote:

“I was assured numerous times by those in this unit, who enforce the rules of the gay pride parade, that they would respect ours.”

I spoke again with this unit on the Kelly Bridge, inspected their banner, flags and two rainbow banners with a pot of gold and leprechauns and found no violation.”

None of that makes sense, if indeed the council never saw or voted on the application, and if indeed the council was not aware that Boston Pride was a gay rights organization.

According to the Boston Herald, what is really upsetting Mahoney is that there were some umbrellas with rainbows on them.

“It was shocking and unauthorized … when they appeared at G (Street) and Broadway carrying 10-12 multicolored umbrellas that I would describe as rainbow even though I have been told they ‘technically’ were not rainbows.”

Wait, rainbows are not allowed at a St. Patrick’s Day Parade?

What about leprechauns? Can marchers carry a pot of gold?

When it was pointed out to him that there were other marchers, who were not associated with the two groups, who also carried umbrellas, Mahoney decided to direct to his outrage at umbrellas in general (as well as rainbows).

“Well, how’s this — umbrellas of any sort are not allowed.

We can all play word games but again we’re running a celebratory event not a protest or social movement. In any event we review tapes of the parade for improvements and violations and will take action where appropriate.”

Are we having fun yet?

As a side note, umbrellas, rainbows, and members of the LGBT community aren’t the only things excluded from Boston’s St. Patrick Day Parade. The group Veterans for Peace is also barred from participating in the event.

For a group to call itself Allied War Veterans to exclude certain war veterans, either because they are LGBT or because they oppose war, is about as shameful as it can get.

Isn’t it time for the city of Boston to take over organizing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade associated with its name?

As long as the parade is known as Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (officially or otherwise), the discriminatory speech and behaviors that are associated with the event will inevitably reflect back on the city itself.

*Featured image credit: video screen capture WCVB