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Boston: St. Patrick’s Day parade to feature first gay organization

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston will feature a first. According to a report by WBUR News on March 1, organizers of the parade have invited MassEquality, a gay advocacy group, to march in the annual parade.

Boston Mayor-elect Martin Walsh speaks to members of the media after a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and a group of newly-elected mayors from across the country at the Roosevelt Room of the White House December 13, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Boston Mayor-elect Martin Walsh speaks to members of the media after a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and a group of newly-elected mayors from across the country at the Roosevelt Room of the White House December 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The invitation will end a two-decade old ban on gay organizations marching in the ban and is a sign of change says executive director of MassEquality, Cara Coredini.

“Just as the parade has been a symbol of the challenges that the LGBT community faces, it’s now really poised to become a symbol of the progress that we’re making.”

The decision comes after Boston Mayor Martin Walsh threatened to boycott the parade if the ban wasn’t lifted, a ban which he labeled “absurd.” Although parade organizers have invited a gay organization to march, they are still not allowed to wear T-shirts or hold signs with the word gay or any signs that make reference to sexual orientation.

Philip Wuschke, the parade’s head organizer, said the reason why is because they want to focus on what the parade is about and that “message is St. Patrick and Evacuation.” He maintains that the parade has always been inclusive, as many gay people have marched in the huge parade throughout the years.

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