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Southie St. Patrick’s Parade Organizers Take Back Invitation To Gay Rights Group

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BOSTON (CBS) – Organizers of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade have revoked their invitation to a gay rights advocacy group to march with them on March 16.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

In a statement released Tuesday, the parade organizers, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, claimed they were “misled” by the group calling themselves LGBT Veterans of Equality, which is an affiliate of Mass Equality.

“This application was conditionally approved as submitted with the understanding that These 20 Veterans can march but no sexual orientation would be displayed, “ organizers said in their statement.

But the invitation was rejected when, organizers claim, the LGBT group didn’t have 20 veterans ready to march, but simply one veteran and 19 LGBT supporters.

“(It) was made clear to us that the LGBT Veterans for Equality do not have 20 United States Veterans who wish to march. Rather, they presented only one supposed Veteran and a group of others carrying rainbow flags. When asked about a Color Guard, their (lone) Veteran replied that he wasn’t sure he could supply any more Veterans willing to march,” organizers said.

“It is our belief that the application submitted to us by LGBT Veterans for Equality was a ploy by them to enter this parade under false pretenses and is hereby denied.”

There has been no comment yet from MassEquality.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh threatened to boycott the parade if the LGBT group wasn’t allowed to march. Walsh, who has helped broker a deal between the groups, says he remains optimistic, even as the efforts appeared to be falling apart.

“From what I understand there are some discussions going on right now. I’m hopeful that those discussions will be positive and that we’ll be able to make an announcement. You know I’d really like to march in the parade,” the mayor said outside an event Tuesday night.

Still he maintains he will not march unless gay groups are allowed to be in the parade. “The mayor represents all the people of the City of Boston and I think it’s important to send a message across throughout the city,” he said.

The possible inclusion of the gay group prompted a small Catholic school in Harvard, Massachusetts to withdraw from the parade Monday.

But the principal of The Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Br. Thomas Dalton, told WBZ-TV Tuesday his students will now participate.

Dalton said his students applauded when the decision to deny the LGBT group from the parade was announced.

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk contributed to this report

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