BOSTON — After several days of back and forth, organizers of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade have decided to allow LGBT veterans group OUTVETS to participate.
The decision was announced in a tweet from the parade's organizer just before 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Parade organizer Tim Duross told FOX25's Kathryn Burcham he went rogue with the decision after realizing he had the authority to reinstate OUTVETS because his name was on the parade permit.
“This is something that I need to do morally, because it's wrong. My father was a WWII decorated veteran my son is serving in the Marine Corps, and this is just something that I couldn't live with,” he said.
OUTVETS had initially been denied entry because parade organizers said they violated the code of conduct which prohibits 'the advertisement or display of one's sexual orientation' by carrying a rainbow flag and wearing a logo with a rainbow on it.
Bryan Bishop, executive director for OUTVETS, said he didn’t understand how the parade organizers could consider a rainbow as an image of sexuality.
“What we are being told is that the rainbow equates to sexuality, but I am trying to get my head around how this equates to sexuality and it doesn’t,” Bishop said.
Duross said the vote to deny OUTVETS' participation was a mistake, but the bylaws of the Allied War Veterans Council prevented a revote.
After the initial decision to deny OUTVETS' application, several companies decided to pull their sponsorship and several prominent politicians announced they would not be participating if the LGBT group was not allowed to march.
Duross said he hopes the sponsors and politicians will reconsider their decisions regarding participation in the upcoming parade.
Friday night, parade organizers held a vote and unanimously decided to allow OUTVETS march. A short times later OUTVETS accepted the invitation.
“We are honored and humbled by all the outpouring of support that has been displayed for our LGBTQ Veterans – who are one of the most unrepresented demographic in our Veterans community. We look forward to marching proudly on March 19th and honoring the service and sacrifice of those brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country,” a statement from OUTVETS said.