Parade organizers say gay vets group can march

OutVets was first allowed to participate in the parade in 2015.

FILE - In this March 20, 2016 file photo, members of OutVets, a group of gay military veterans, march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston's South Boston neighborhood. The group said Wednesday, March 8, 2017, it was denied permission to march in the 2017 Boston St. Patrick's Day parade just two years after organizers made the ground-breaking decision to allow gay groups to participate for the first time. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on the decision by the organizers of Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade to bar a group of gay veterans from participating (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

Organizers of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade appear to have had a change of heart about barring a group of gay veterans from marching.

Parade organizers tweeted Friday an “acceptance letter” was signed by the Allied War Veterans Council that will allow OutVets to march in the March 19 parade.

The council and OutVets haven’t responded to messages seeking comment.

This week’s decision to bar OutVets from marching drew immediate condemnation from high-profile politicians and stirred up a furor on social media.

OutVets was first allowed to participate in the parade in 2015.

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3 p.m.

The leader of the group of gay veterans barred from marching in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade says it’s infuriating that the decision was based on the rainbow flag.

OutVets’ executive director, Bryan Bishop, told The Associated Press on Friday that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council said the group could participate in the March 19 parade if they did not display the rainbow — a symbol of gay pride and solidarity.

OutVets has the rainbow on its banner and jackets.

Bishop said no. The group has carried the rainbow banner the past two years with no problems.

He says the parade organizers are diminishing the contributions and sacrifices of gay veterans.

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1:15 p.m.

A second veterans’ organization says it has been barred from participating in this year’s Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Veterans for Peace said Friday that it was denied the right to participate in the March 19 parade because “we work for peace and peaceful resolution of conflict.”

Veterans for Peace has been trying for several years to get permission to march. Local chapter member Pat Scanlon called the group’s exclusion “shameful.”

Parade organizers didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

The organizers of the parade are expected to hold a meeting Friday to reconsider their vote to shut out the gay veterans group, OutVets.

This week’s decision to bar OutVets from marching drew immediate condemnation from high-profile politicians and stirred up a furor on social media.

OutVets was first allowed to participate in the parade in 2015.

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12:50 a.m.

The organizers of Boston’s embattled St. Patrick’s Day parade have scheduled an emergency meeting to reconsider their vote to shut out a gay veterans group.

This week’s decision to bar OutVets from marching drew immediate condemnation from high-profile politicians and stirred up a furor on social media.

Ed Flynn is a member of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which is organizing the March 19 parade. Flynn voted to allow OutVets to march. He says the emergency meeting will take place Friday.

OutVets was first allowed to participate in the parade in 2015.

OutVets founder Bryan Bishop says he was told the group was barred this year because they broke parade rules by carrying a rainbow banner. The organizing council considers it a symbol of gay sexuality.

 

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