scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Walsh to make ‘one more pitch’ to resolve parade standoff

With the clock swiftly running down, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Thursday that he will make one more attempt to resolve a standoff over gays marching openly in the St. Patrick’s Day parade Sunday in South Boston.

“I am going to make one more pitch at it, and we’ll see what happens,’’ he said after a press conference on another subject.

The mayor has been trying to find a middle ground between the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which sponsors the parade, and MassEquality, a statewide gay rights group.

The two organizations have been at loggerheads over whether gay people can march openly in the parade.


In trying to broker a deal, Walsh had sought small victories in a controversy that spans 20 years. Parade organizers said gay individuals could participate in the parade. But they said they would exclude any political activism during the march, a policy supported by the Supreme Court.

Walsh did manage to get the parade sponsors to invite MassEquality, but the sponsors wanted to require that the marchers refrain from any reference to their sexual orientation. MassEquality said it could not abide by those conditions.

Parade sponsors rescinded the offer, contending that MassEquality lied in its application about the number of veterans who would march as a ploy to participate in the event.

MassEquality responded Wednesday with a letter to parade organizers signed by 12 gay war veterans, but later the group’s executive director said all talks were over .

With three days before the event, Walsh said he will attend the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast, which will feature its first black host, state Senator Linda Dorcena-Forry.

The mayor said he may also go to a couple of parties in South Boston, but unless MassEquality marches, he will not participate in the parade.


“We pretty much have an agreement in principle,’’ Walsh said of MassEquality and parade sponsors. “But I think it is a little bit of stubbornness and a little bit of outside influences on both sides that need to take a step back and let us come up with an understanding here.”

Meghan Irons can be reached at