BOSTON (APMyFoxBoston) - Boston Mayor Martin Walsh says he will not participate in the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade because organizers are excluding gay groups.
Walsh said in an email on Sunday he's disappointed he will not take part in the Sunday event because parade plans prevent all Boston residents from participating fully.
"As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city," Walsh's statement read, in part. "Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible."
MassEquality, a group that advocates for gay rights and had met with parade organizers, released a statement regarding Walsh's decision on Sunday.
"MassEquality is pleased that Mayor Walsh has kept his promise to sit out the 2014 South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade since parade organizers continue to ban LGBT groups from marching openly," Kara Coredini, the group's executive director, stated.
Walsh and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch tried to broker a deal that would have allowed a gay group to march, but the negotiations broke down. The mayor said the St. Patrick's Day celebrations honor Irish history that he says has been shaped by the fight against oppression.
Lead parade organizer Philip Wuschke Jr. said gay people are not prohibited from marching. He said organizers do not want the parade to turn into a demonstration for a particular group.
"While we are disappointed that we did not get to march this year as we had hoped, we thank the Mayor for championing full inclusion all the way until the end," Coredini stated. "We are encouraged by today's small step forward with the inclusion of a ‘diversity' float."