US: Massachusetts gay rights group claims it was excluded from St Patrick’s Day parade
A gay rights advocacy group has voiced its anger at being excluded from a local St Patrick’s Day Parade in Massachusetts, however organisers say that they just applied too late.
MassEquality, a marriage equality activist group, claimed it was excluded in the past from the parade for being an LGBT group, and dismissed the claim that the parade was full this year as “disingenuous.”
“In the priorities and needs facing the LGBTQ (lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer) community, inclusion in the parade is not the top priority,” said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini.
“But the significance of being excluded from such a big historical, cultural institution is emblematic of the rejection LGBT people face every day.”
MassLive reports an ongoing tensions between the organisers of the 17 March parade which is sponsored by the Allied War Veterans Council, and gay rights groups.
A 1995 case between the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council and the Irish American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, went to the Supreme Court, over the right of the veterans’ group to exclude the GLB organisation.
The court ruled in that case that the organisers of the parade had the right to decide who was able to march in it.
“Organizers of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade have barred LGBTQ people and groups from marching in the Parade for 18 years simply because they are openly LGBTQ,” said Suffredini.
“After years of rejecting MassEquality, in particular, because it is an LGBTQ organization, it seems disingenuous to now ban the organization because the Parade is allegedly ‘full’.”
On Tuesday, MassEquality received an email from the organisers of the parade to tell them that this year’s parade was full.
Philip Wuschke, parade organiser, said that MassEquality was turned away because the parade was already full, that it had 140 units, and that other groups had also been turned away. He said: “They applied way too late”.