Knights of Columbus pull out of St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The Massachusetts State Council of the Knights of Columbus announced that it will not participate in the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, saying that the event had “become politicized and divisive.”

In an undated message posted on its web site, the Catholic fraternal organization said it had previously planned to march in honor of St. Patrick and the contributions of Irish Americans to the United States.

The group did not specify its reason for pulling out, but its references to “controversy” may refer to the decision by parade organizers, the Allied War Veterans Council, to allow organizations representing gay men and lesbians to march.


“We deeply regret that some have decided to use this occasion to further the narrow objectives of certain special interests, which has subjected this occasion to undeserved division and controversy,” the group’s statement said.

Representatives for the group did not immediately respond to requests for clarification on Friday night.

Parade organizers in December approved parade participation by OUTVETS — a group honoring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender military veterans — and on Friday, organizers said they would also allow marchers from Boston Pride, planners of the city’s annual June parade celebrating LGBT dignity.

Last month, the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Harvard announced that it would not march because OUTVETS had been invited to participate.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.