A ST PATRICK'S DAY Parade is facing a boycott after an LGBT military veteran group was denied entry.
OUTVETS, an organisation in New England that recognises the contributions of LGBTQ veterans to military service, posted the statement on social media saying it was banned from this month's Boston parade.
The group previously marched in the parade for two consecutive years and said organisers the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council did not give a clear reason for its decision to deny the group entry to the parade this year.
"We just received word from the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council that OUTVETS has been denied entry into the 2017 South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"While four members of the council advocated for our organization, the majority ruled against having OUTVETS in the parade.
"This is a sad day for the LGBTQ community and for veterans of all backgrounds.
"Understanding the concern and controversy that surrounded our application, we followed the South Boston Allied War Veteran Council's rules to the letter, each time.
"Our presence helped to break through the fog ill-will and discrimination that so distracted from the fine goals of this event, a community-hosted parade to honor all kinds of Veterans.
"This is a sad day for the LGBTQ community and for Veterans of all backgrounds. We served our country with honor and distinction.
"But even after bringing honor to this parade, this community, and to all those who have served, we fight every day to be treated with the basic dignity that comes with service to country."
OUTVETS DENIED ENTRY INTO THE 2017 SOUTH BOSTON ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE
We just received word from the South Boston...
Following the decision to exclude OUTVETS from the parade, both the Boston Mayor and a fellow veteran group publicly announced their boycott of the parade.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Massachusetts said all military and veterans have "sweat, bled and cried" across all of the human race.
"Due to the council vote on 7 March 2017 by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council not allowing the group OutVets to participate in the 2017 St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Department of Massachusetts VFW will not support the South Boston War Veterans Council or the 2017 St Patrick's Day Parade.
"The military, veterans, and its members have and always will promote diversity as we have all sweat, bled, and cried amongst all humans of races, religions, and sexual orientations.
"In support of OUTVETS we are changing our cover page photo to stand united."
Due to the council vote on 7 March 2017 by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council not allowing the group OutVets...
The Mayor of Boston, Martin J Walsh, whose parents are both from Ireland, also said he would boycott the parade as "we are one Boston."
"I will not tolerate discrimination in our city of any form. We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city.
"I will not be marching in the parade unless this this resolved. Anyone who values what our city stands for should do the same."
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) March 8, 2017
The decision followed the inclusion of an American group — [email protected], an LGBT group for employees of the media company — in the 2015 parade, the first time an LGBT group had been allowed to participate.
Before this, gay people could march in the parade — held for over 250 years — but without banners disclosing their sexual orientation.
The Irish Post have contacted the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council for comment.