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Boston Pride uninvites parade marshal over online remarks

Participants in the Boston Pride Parade marched through the Back Bay during last year’s event.
Participants in the Boston Pride Parade marched through the Back Bay during last year’s event.Harrison Hill for the Boston Globe/File

Organizers of the annual Boston Pride Parade, a major celebration of the area’s gay community, have rescinded their invitation to one of this year’s parade marshals after controversial posts on his Facebook page were brought to their attention.

The Boston Pride Committee said Monday in a statement that they had learned Woburn Police Officer Anthony Imperioso, who was picked through a community-wide vote to be a parade marshal, had “made some offensive comments” online that did not support the group’s overall mission.

“As an inclusive organization, Boston Pride does not condone any language that is intolerant of racial, ethnic, or religious differences,” according to the statement, which was posted to Boston Pride’s website. “Additionally, we reject language that promotes violence towards any individuals who are exercising their First Amendment rights.”

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The group did not say what Imperioso allegedly wrote, but acknowledged that the group was “made aware of the comments by members of the community.”

“And when the committee discussed them with Mr. Imperioso, he indicated that he had made them,” the group said.

Screenshots of alleged posts from Imperioso’s personal Facebook page were shared with Boston Pride officials on Twitter on Sunday night.

“After a discussion between Mr. Imperioso and Boston Pride, his marshalship has been withdrawn,” according to the group’s statement.

Woburn Police Chief Robert Ferullo said he did not know enough about the allegations to comment at this time, but that his department is “looking into it.”

Imperioso could not immediately be reached for comment.

The group apologized for not properly “vetting” Imperioso, who is listed as the President of the New England Gay Officers Action League, after he was elected marshal through the online voting contest.

“Boston Pride is reviewing its marshal nomination process to ensure that it is both fair and robust to all members of the community going forward,” the group said.

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The group said they will continue to “work to foster a dialogue within the LGBT community between groups, and will continue to work with members of the community to create a more just society for all.”

The 46th annual parade — one of the largest in the coutry — will take place on June 11, during Boston Pride Week. The weeklong celebration features events and activities aimed at promoting inclusivity and equality.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.