OUTVETS allowed in Boston, invited to march in Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade

Holyoke parade committee president says city is a welcoming place

FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2014 file photo, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Eric Bullen, of Westborough, Mass., left, holds an American flag as U.S. Army veteran Ian Ryan, of Dennis, Mass., front right, rolls up an OutVets banner after marching with a group representing LGBT military veterans in a Veterans Day parade in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The LGBT veterans organization OUTVETS are allowed to participate in the St. Patrick’s Parade in Boston after being banned, and they have also been welcomed to march in Holyoke’s parade.

Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Committee President Michael Moriarty told 22News it was simply the right thing to do.

Some members of the Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston, which organizes that city’s parade, had objected to a rainbow banner that OUTVETS uses. They recently voted not to have OUTVETS march in this year’s parade, even though they had marched the previous two years.

After being criticized by Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Senator Edward Markey, and others, Boston parade organizers met in emergency session Friday to take a vote to reconsider. The council agreed at the meeting they would allow OUTVETS to march.

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Meanwhile, the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Committee has already extended the invitation to OUTVETS to march with their banner at their March 19 parade. Moriarty told 22News that they have been in communication, but they have not given any indication yet as to whether they would be marching in Holyoke.

“We are a welcoming city, this is not new to us. We have been inclusive with the LGBT community in the past, so it’s not an issue on that score, and the responses that I have gotten to date have been just about universally supportive and thankful,” Moriarty said.

22News Coverage: St. Patrick’s Day 2017

OUTVETS made history in 2015 when it became one of two LGBT organizations to march in Boston’s parade.