LGBT veterans to march in Boston St. Patrick's Day parade

OUTVETS, an organization for LGBT military veterans, will participate in South Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade in 2015, the Boston Globe reported.

Last month, OUTVETS participated in the city's Veterans Day parade, becoming the first LGBT group to do so.

The Boston Globe wrote of today's announcement:

“I think it’s very significant,” said Bishop, an Air Force veteran who works as chief of staff in Boston’s Veterans Services department. “Ensuring that there is 100 percent inclusivity is important.”

Bishop also noted that OUTVETS is not a political action group seeking to break barriers. The organization honors all veterans, he said.

“To other people, it will be a big thing,” said Brian Mahoney, commander of the Veterans Council. “But to us, it’s a group of veterans that wanted to march and deserved to be honored.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh tried to broker a deal with the Veterans Council to allow a gay rights organization to march in this past year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, but after an apparent breakthrough, negotiations collapsed. For the first time in years, Walsh refused to walk in the parade…

“We’re very pleased to hear that OUTVETS will be marching in this year’s parade,” Walsh’s press secretary, Kate Norton, said in a statement Monday. “Mayor Walsh has been advocating for an inclusive parade for quite some time. We’re thrilled to hear that the South Boston Allied Veterans have decided to make the 2015 parade an inclusive event.”

The Boston Beer Company, owner of Sam Adams, dropped its sponsorship of the Boston-based parade in March as a result of the anti-LGBT, exclusionary policy.

In the spring of 2014, GLAAD called on the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade's sponsors to reconsider their support of the parade, which previously prohibited LGBT families and organizations from participating. Following GLAAD's outreach, Heineken and Guinness both dropped sponsorship of the parade due to the discriminatory ban. Additionally, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to march in the parade, citing the discriminatory practice. 

As of September, however, organizers of the NYC event announced that for the first time in its 253-year history, an LGBT organization would be allowed to participate in the parade. The new policy will go into effect in 2015 with OUT@NBCUniversal, a group for LGBT employees with the broadcast company.

GLAAD continues to advocate for full LGBT inclusion in the annual parades.

Tweet your congratulations to OUTVETS for making history!