Representatives with MassEquality, the Boston-based group that seeks to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Massachusetts, have responded to the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston, who this week revoked their invitation to the group to participate in the parade on March 16.
The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council that sponsors the parade announced this week that the reason for revoking the invitation to MassEquality was that organizers were misled by the group calling themselves LGBT Veterans of Equality, an affiliate of MassEquality.
An original application was approved with the understanding that the 20 veterans of the group could march in the parade without identifying their sexual orientation. The invitation was rejected when the group did not have 20 veterans ready to march, and instead only appeared to have one veteran and 19 LGBT supporters.
On Wednesday, MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini responded, and said that the group is "extremely disappointed" with the decision to pull back the invitation to march in the parade.
"We were under the impression that negotiations were positive and ongoing, and we were surprised by the abrupt and hostile tone of the parade organizers' rejection," Coredini said in the statement.
She added in the statement, "We know from experience that change comes through conversation and dialogue. We were encourage do thane an historic opportunity to meet face-to-face with parade organizers to discuss a contingent involving LGBT veterans, and we did so with open hearts and open minds. We regret that the parade organizers shut down conversation before an agreement could be finalized."
The group was originally invited to march in the parade shortly after Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said he would boycott the parade unless gay groups would be allowed to march.