One Saint Patrick, Two Parades
For the third year in a row there will be two St. Patrick's Day parades in the city this March 17th. The celebration of Ireland's patron saint has for over a decade been a divisive issue over who gets to march across South Boston. Veterans for Peace and other groups have taken it upon themselves again to organize an alternative parade, which they say is inclusive of all groups. Organizers of the official Patty's Day parade the Allied War Veterans Council have previously refused peace groups and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups from taking part in their event. Following a Supreme Court ruling in the Hurley decision in 1995, the Veterans Council won the right to control who gets to take part in the parade based on the right to freedom of speech.
Pat Scanlon of Veterans for Peace says he understand that the Veterans Council has the "legality" to ban peace groups and LGBT organizations, but he does not understand the "morality" of their decision to do so. MassEquality, an advocacy group for the LGBTQ community has yet to find out whether their application to march in the official parade will be accepted. They are still hopeful, but have pledged to march in the alternative parade if it is not. Boston City's Mayor Menino will continue his refusal to take part in the official parade due to the exclusion of LGBT groups.