No doubt the 13-members of the Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston who organize the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade knew there would be a backlash and bad press from their decision to not allow OUTVETS, a LGBTQ veterans group which had been allowed to march in the previous two parades, but the condemnations that have come from the Governor, Mayor, Parade Grand Marshal and politicians who had planned to join the parade combined with the growing list of corporate sponsors now distancing themselves and withering scorn from Southie residents may be more than they bargained for.
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch who is a Southie resident pledged yesterday to help resolve this issue saying, “I will get on this as soon as I possibly can and try to ferret out the problem and resolve it, and have it so that the OUTVETS are not only allowed to march, but are welcome to march.”
Bryan Bishop, OUTVETS Director is on record telling the Boston Globe the reason for not being invited to the parade stems from their logo, which features a small rainbow patch. Bishop said the council members view the rainbow imagery — a symbol of solidarity among LGBTQ advocates — violates the code of conduct because the council saw it as representative of gay sexuality. Bishop’s response was spot on IMHO, replying, “They said people felt that rainbows represent the gay community… I told them if that’s the case, then every picture of a rainbow in the parade that leads to a pot of gold needs to be removed.”
The excuse provided to Bishop sounds flimsy at best which only further convinces me that the Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston neither thought through their reasoning or are prepared for the mounting pressure which if OUTVETS remains barred from marching will likely be all the media and press coverage discusses on the day of the parade.
More about on this story here:
St. Patrick’s parade organizers to reconsider gay veteran’s ban
Boston Globe, March 9, 2017
Backlash, boycott threats in Boston after gay vets banned from St. Patrick’s Day parade Washington Post, March 9, 2017
Politicians to skip Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade after gay group is banned
NY Times, March 8, 2017