BOSTON (CBS) – Organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston have decided to allow a gay veterans group to march in this year’s parade.
“I just spoke with Bryan Bishop from OutVets,” said Ed Flynn of the Allied War Veterans Council.
Flynn called Bishop after a new 11-0 vote in favor of the LGBTQ group marching in the parade.
OutVets said said they “are encouraged” by the most recent vote and they will march in the parade next Sunday.
“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,” OutVets said in a statement Friday night. “We look forward to marching proudly on March 19th and honoring the service and sacrifice of those brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country.”
Ed Flynn says younger veterans on the council made the difference. “They wanted to send an important powerful message that we treat everyone with respect and dignity,” said Flynn.
A special meeting Friday night was supposed to clear up any confusion about OutVets and the rainbow flag allowed in the parade.
Earlier in the day, Tim Duross, who holds the title of parade organizer, had tried to stop the controversy.
“I may have gone rogue here,” said Duross said.
Duross holds the parade permits. So, he went over the heads of the council extending an offer to OutVets to march with their flag.
“This needed to end as quickly as possible,” said Duross.
OutVets said it would not march without their flag that symbolizes solidarity. It was a sticking point for some on the council who want to rescind Duross’ offer.
“Don’t belong in the parade that’s it, that’s their symbol of their sexuality,” said Stephen Grieg of the Allied War Veterans Council.
“They have more rights than I do,” said Grieg,
With the parade’s national draw, many local leaders have had enough of the drama. Friday night’s meeting also set forth changes to allow more community input and allow the parade to march on.
“What does the South Boston community want and what do our area veterans want,” said Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty.