It’ll be the tale of two parades on Sunday.
About a mile behind the end of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston will be the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade.
Veterans for Peace, the organizers of the second parade, said they applied to march in the traditional parade but were rejected by the Allied War Veterans Council, the private group that puts on the parade.
“They just flat out rejected it,” said Pat Scanlon, the coordinator for the local Veterans for Peace. “All we wanted to do is go in and carry our flags and American flags.”
Instead, Scanlon’s group applied for a permit, which the city granted.
Members of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said the city made the right call.
“More speech is better when there’s censorship by private group,” ACLU attorney Sarah Wunsch said.
Philip Wuschke, the main parade organizer, said he didn’t have a comment about the peace parade, but said the second parade wouldn’t impact the traditional one.
Organizers of the traditional parade are no strangers to controversy.
After a battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Allied War Veterans won the right to exclude groups from its parade. That lawsuit involved gay groups. The decision led to some politicians, including Mayor Thomas Menino, to not march in the parade.
Scanlon expects as many as 500 marchers will join the peace parade.
“Peace is patriotic,” he said. “It’s not a dirty word.”