The continued exclusion of gay and lesbian groups from the St. Patrick’s Day veterans’ parade in South Boston feels increasingly out of place in an evolving city. Both the city and the neighborhood have changed dramatically since the bitter wars over the parade in the ’90s. Yet the battle lines remain as frozen as ever.
This year, though, the city has a rare opportunity to help thaw tensions. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that the city is not required to run street sweepers between the main parade and a subsequent alternative parade that allows gay groups to march. The arrival of the sweepers may send an inadvertent signal to the crowd after the first parade that it’s time to go home. So the city should break with recent practice and run the sweepers only after both parades are over. It would be a small step, but by removing a barrier between the two groups, the city could promote the gradual healing of what, for too many Bostonians, still feels like an open wound.