OutVets group had said no to marching without rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, which is on their banner and jackets

Organizers of Bostons St Patricks Day parade reversed course on Friday and said they would allow a group of gay veterans to march in this years event.

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council announced on the parades Twitter account that it had signed an acceptance letter that would clear the way for OutVets to participate.

OutVets did not immediately say whether it would accept the invitation to march.
We are in receipt of a letter from the allied war council, and we are actively reviewing it, said Dee Dee Edmondson, a lawyer for the group.

An earlier vote by the council to bar OutVets from marching drew immediate condemnation from high-profile politicians, some of whom said they would not march if the gay veterans were excluded. It caused some sponsors to back out and stirred up a furor on social media.

It was unclear if the reversal of the decision was a result of a second vote by the council. I decided this is a wrong that has to be corrected, the parades lead organizer, Tim Duross, told WHDH-TV.

Earlier, OutVets executive director Bryan Bishop said the vets had been told the original decision to bar them was because of their rainbow symbols. Bishop said the council offered to allow the group to march if its members did not display the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, which is on their banner and their jackets.
The group said no.

I almost fell out of the chair at that point, said, You gotta be kidding me, Bishop said.

He said OutVets has displayed the rainbow at the parade the last two years. It infuriates me to look at the veterans that I know, gay and straight, who have served this country with valor and honor and distinction, and just because youre a veteran who happens to be gay your service is somehow less than someone who is not of the LGBT community or someone whos not gay, he said.

Edmondson, the OutVets lawyer, described the letter as generic and said it did not make fully clear whether the gay group would be allowed to display its banner. OutVets was first allowed to participate in the parade in 2015, in what was seen as a groundbreaking decision after parade organizers had, for decades, resisted the inclusion of gay groups. The case went to the US Supreme Court, which in 1995 upheld the councils right to bar gay groups on free speech grounds.

The council said in a statement on Thursday its decision had been misinterpreted.
The council is accepting of all people and organizations, but it will not permit messages that conflict with the overall theme of the parade, it said.
That decision resulted in backlash from other veterans organizations.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/11/boston-st-patricks-day-parade-to-allow-gay-veterans-to-march

Boston St Patricks Day parade to allow gay veterans to march
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