Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will allow a homosexual group to march in the 2015 event for the first time in the parade’s 100-plus year history, reports LifeSiteNews.
The parade’s organizers, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, voted 5-4 on December 15 to allow the group OutVets to join the parade next March 15. The council had previously withstood the push to allow homosexual groups, even prevailing in a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision protecting its right to refuse groups promoting homosexuality.
OutVets, which acts for veterans identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, has been cleared to carry a blue sign with five white stars denoting the branches of the military and six vertical rainbow stripes.
“We're marching as veterans who happen to be gay," said Bryan Bishop, OutVets founder, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and chief of staff in the Boston Veteran’s Services agency.
Brian Mahoney, the commander of the veteran’s council, told the AP the homosexual group is being allowed to take part because of its members' military service, and that sexual orientation did not factor into the vote.
“The parade is meant to honor veterans and Irish-American heritage, and OutVets met the criteria,” Mahoney said. "It was a group of vets who wanted to march and we said, 'Yeah.'"
The homosexual group participated in the Boston Veterans Day Parade last month for the first time.