Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has declined to participate in the traditional South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Put on by the Allied War Veterans Council since the 1940s, the parade is known for excluding LGBT organizations that wish to hold banners and wear clothing advocating for equal rights and mutual respect. For this reason, the mayor will not be marching.
Mayor Walsh has been a staunch supporter of the LGBT community for his entire political career both as a state Representative and candidate for mayor. The son of Irish immigrants, he too has lived and understands the parallels between groups of people that have dealt with prejudice and discrimination.
“The St. Patrick’s Day parade was born out of the celebration of Evacuation Day, a day set aside to recognize and honor our military and those brave Americans who have banded together for the sake of freedom,” said the mayor in a statement. “And so much of our Irish history has been shaped by the fight against oppression.”
Back in 2013 while blazing the campaign trail, one of then-Rep. Walsh’s major mayoral endorsers came from Arline Isaacson, co- chair of the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus. In support of them and in following in the footsteps of longtime Mayor Tom Menino, Mayor Walsh felt it his civic obligation not to march in a parade that restricts what messages organizations can convey while marching.
“I’m disappointed that this year, I will be unable to participate in the parade,” continued Mayor Walsh. “As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city. Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible. ”
Though he won’t be joining in the procession throughout the streets of Southie, he will be in attendance at the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast hosted by state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. The breakfast, made famous by Billy Bulger, is also an enjoyable roast of local politicos.
“I look forward to participating in this morning’s breakfast with my friend Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, and I plan to spend the afternoon with my family,” added Mayor Walsh. “On behalf of my entire staff, we wish the entire city a happy Saint Patrick’s Day.”