Thursday, February 27, 2014

Boston Mayor Backs Gays for St. Pat's Day Parade; Says He'll Shun Parade If Organizers Exclude Them

Boston's new mayor, Martin Walsh, plans to boycott the city's St. Patrick's Day parade, if organizers continue their stubborn stance to exclude gay and lesbian groups from marching in it, the Christian Science Monitor website reports today (February 27, 2014).

Every year, more than half a million spectators line the streets of South Boston for the annual parade -- the second-largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the United States. Boston has the highest percentage of Irish-Americans in the United States, with 20 percent of residents in the metro Boston area descending from Irish immigrants, according to a Forbes report.

But in 1995, a unanimous ruling by the US Supreme Court confirmed the parade committee's right to bar gay and lesbian groups from formally participating in the event. The Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston was excluded.

Walsh -- himself the son of Irish immigrants -- did march in the parade last year as a state representative, but he's changed his tune since becoming mayor last month. "Equality comes first," Walsh said.

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