OUTVETS is a group of New England-based LGBTQ veterans who have been around since 2014. They’ve marched in both of the last two South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parades, and expected to do so again this year. However, the organizers of the parade, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, apparently booted them from this year’s parade because OUTVETS’ logo prominently features the rainbow flag.
They announced the exclusion last night, saying that the SBAWVC didn’t give a clear reason why they were being excluded.
The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council wilted. It failed to stand its ground against reinvigorated voices of spite, exclusion, and disrespect.
This is a sad day for the LGBTQ community and for Veterans of all backgrounds. We served our country with honor and distinction. But even after bringing honor to this parade, this community, and to all those who have served, we fight every day to be treated with the basic dignity that comes with service to country.
OUTVETS founder Bryan Bishop told CNN that they met with the SBAWVC this afternoon, but they refused to let them march because the rainbow flag has a prominent place on their logo. The council apparently told him that the logo violated rules against “promoting sexual orientation.”
That’s all obvious hateful nonsense, and thankfully, some of Massachusetts’ most prominent politicians are standing with OUTVETS. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker announced that he’d be skipping the parade this afternoon, and Boston mayor Marty Walsh also said that he would not be marching “until this is resolved.”
OUTVETS’ exclusion has an extra layer of significance, since they were the first LGBTQ group allowed to march in the Boston parade. The New York Times reports that sponsors have started to drop out, which will hopefully add enough sufficient pressure to get OUTVETS back on the program.