Parade organizers deny application from gay advocacy group - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers deny application from gay advocacy group

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Organizers of the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston have withdrawn a previously tentative deal that would allow a group of gay military veterans to march.

In a press release on the parade's website, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council claims the application submitted by LGBT Veterans for Equality was "a ploy" for the group to "enter this parade under false pretenses." They say for that reason, the application was denied.

"We were unable to find any evidence of LGBT Veterans for Equality that would confirm them as a recognized Veterans Organization," reads the release in-part.

They add that the group's application said they had 20 veterans who wished to participate, but they presented "only one supposed veteran" at a meeting to discuss their possible participation Sunday night.

"It is our intention to keep this parade a family friendly event," said the council. "We will not allow any group to damage the integrity of the historic event or our reputation as a safe and fun filled day for all. We strive to hold the largest and most entertaining St. Patrick's Day Parade in the country. "

MassEquality released a statement Wednesday reacting to the denial.

"We are extremely disappointed with the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council's decision yesterday to continue their long history of banning LGBT people from marching openly in the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade," the statement read in part. "We were under the impression that negotiations were positive and ongoing, and we were surprised by the abrupt and hostile tone of the Parade organizers' rejection."

On Saturday, news surfaced of a tentative deal between MassEquality and parade organizers that would allow the group to march under the condition that they did not wear clothing or hold signs that refer to sexual orientation. According to parade organizers, MassEquality rejected this deal because the group would not be allowed to identify themselves as members of the LGBT community.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who threatened to boycott if the group wasn't allowed to participate, expressed his hope that a deal could still be made Tuesday.

"As mayor of the city of Boston I want to make sure the parade is inclusive," he said.

He went on to say that he is optimistic that the two groups will eventually come to an agreement.

"I'd really like to march in the parade a week from Sunday. I'm holding out hope until the very end," he said.

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