Walsh will not march in South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade

boston south boston st. patrick's day parade
The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Credit: Metro file photo

Despite last minute attempts to broker a deal between organizers of South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and LGBT groups, Mayor Marty Walsh will not march in Sunday’s event.

“I’m disappointed that this year, I will be unable to participate in the parade. 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,” Walsh said in a statement Sunday  morning.

Walsh has tried to negotiate a deal that would allow LGBT groups march openly in the private parade, but those efforts fell through as the weeks went on. He told Metro in January that he wanted to march in an “inclusive” parade. At issue was the allowing of statewide LGBT advocacy group MassEquality to march with displays referring to sexual orientation.

Organizers of the South Boston parade rejected the application, saying that it does not allow any group tot march that attempts to make a statement contrary to the parade’s message.

However, the controversy grew in recent weeks with a popular South End gay bar pulling Sam Adams beer because it sponsored the parade. The Boston Beer Company, which makes Sam Adams, has since pulled its sponsorship of the parade.

Walsh’s full statement on his decision not to march can be read below:

“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. And so much of our Irish history has been shaped by the fight against oppression.  

I’m disappointed that this year, I will be unable to participate in the parade. 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.  

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. On behalf of my entire staff, we wish the entire city a happy Saint Patrick’s Day.”

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



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