\"Revelers

Revelers on St. Patrick's Day in Boston. Mayor Marty Walsh may have been unable to broker a deal allowing openly gay groups to march. Photo by: Getty

Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade supports gay rights group banned in Boston

\"Revelers

Revelers on St. Patrick's Day in Boston. Mayor Marty Walsh may have been unable to broker a deal allowing openly gay groups to march. Photo by: Getty

Efforts to find a solution between a LGBT group and the Boston organizers of the St Patrick’s Day parade may have failed again this week, but the Holyoke St Patrick’s Day Parade have welcomed the group to join their parade.

It was announced that the gay rights group banned from marching in the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston has been welcomed by Holyoke's parade organizers and could participate in the March 23 parade as a sponsored group with the parade committee's approval and by complying with the regulations of the committee.

The 2014 Holyoke parade president Jane C Chevalier said, “The reason such a group could participate in the parade here only as a sponsored group, which are limited to three or four members, is that the deadline for the larger marching groups has already passed.’’

She added, “the parade, in terms of who can participate, is by invitation only, but a group seeking to be in the parade as a sponsored group can approach the Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade Committee.”

The stand-off between a LGBT group and the South Boston organizers remains unresolved, but Mayor Marty Walsh is still being credited with opening up the dialogue.

MassEquality released a statement in response to the rescinded invitation to march by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council: “We know from experience that change comes through conversation and dialogue. We were encouraged to have an historic opportunity to meet face-to-face with parade organizers to discuss a contingent involving LGBT veterans, and we did so with open hearts and open minds. We regret that the parade organizers shut down conversation before an agreement could be finalized.”

One of the supporters extending the Holyoke olive branch is Mayor Alex B. Morse, who is gay.

He said he had contacted MassEquality, the group banned from marching in Boston, to invite them to participate in the parade in his town. Morse said he was hopeful MassEquality could be accommodated if the group does seek to join the Holyoke parade.

"I hope if such a group does come forward, the Parade Committee is able to allow them to sponsor and march. I love marching in the parade every year. I know a lot of hard work goes into the planning of the parade and timing is a key issue. I just hope they could make an exception if such a group made a request," Morse said.

Among the rules the group must follow are that they participate in the parade with a sign designed by the Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade Committee and not distribute leaflets or other kinds of information to parade onlookers, she said.

It was hoped an agreement had been reached between MassEquality and the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which runs the Boston parade, to allow MassEquality to march. This, however, has fallen through.

It is expected that Mayor Walsh will continue to boycott the Boston parade this year just as New York mayor Bill De Blasio plans to do.

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