Catholic school refuses to participate in parade - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Catholic school refuses to participate in St. Patrick's Day Parade

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) -- A Catholic school in Harvard is refusing to march in South Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade after organizers announced a gay advocacy group could participate in the event.

In a press release, the Immaculate Heart of Mary School said they decided to pull out of the parade after learning MassEquality would be allowed to march.

School officials said their iconic float featuring Saint Patrick has been a part of the parade for more than two decades.

"The familiar scene of Saint Patrick joyfully giving his blessing to the crowds has, sad to say, come to an end," reads a statement by Br. Thomas Dalton, principal of the school. "In the footsteps of Saint Patrick, IHM does not condone and will not appear to condone the homosexual lifestyle."

The school's decision comes days after organizers announced plans to ease its two-decade ban on gay organizations under a tentative deal to allow them to march in an event that once went to the Supreme Court to keep gays out.

MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini said a group of gay military veterans can march under its banner as part of a tentative deal with parade organizers brokered by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh.

Marchers from the gay-rights group would not, however, be allowed to wear clothing or hold signs that refer to sexual orientation, Coredini said.

In a press release issued Monday, MassEquality said they met with parade organizers, Mayor Walsh, and Congressman Stephen Lynch on Sunday night to discuss their concerns. They said they made it clear they would only march if members of the LGBT community were allowed to participate openly and honestly.

"A parade that is truly welcoming to LGBT people would allow marchers to identify themselves as LGBT," read the release in-part. "It would not condition celebration of one identity on the silencing of another identity."

The group adds that an agreement has not been reached, but the conversation is ongoing.

On Monday, Walsh issued a statement on the issue.

"Last night I watched the Allied War Veterans and MassEquality sit across a table from each other for the first time in more than 20 years, and work towards a common goal," the statement read. "I'm grateful to both groups for the open mindedness and courage they continue to display as we work through this process."

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