Boston parade has 2 gay, lesbian groups


Associated Press

BOSTON

The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston will make history Sunday as two gay and lesbian groups join the fun.

The advocacy group Boston Pride and OutVets, a group of gay military veterans, have been welcomed by the organizers.

“This is a tremendous leap forward,” Boston Pride organizer Sylvain Bruni said Friday.

Until now, gay-rights groups have been barred by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council from marching in the parade, which draws as many as a million spectators each year. Twenty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the organizers’ right to keep gays out.

But Brian Mahoney commands the council now, and he’s shrugging off questions about sexual orientation.

Just like Pope Francis, he says, “Who am I to judge?”

Sunday’s parade through the traditionally Irish-American enclave also will be shorter than years past: So much snow remains piled on sidewalks after the brutal winter that the city has had to cut the route in half.

And for the first time in two decades, a Boston mayor plans to be marching, too.

“With this year’s parade, Boston is putting years of controversy behind us,” Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday.

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