The Massachusetts State Council of the Knights of Columbus has decided not to participate in the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade this Sunday, saying that the event had “become politicized and divisive,” the Boston Globe reports.

The Catholic organization posted a message on its website saying that it had previously planned to march in the parade in honor of St. Patrick and the contributions of Irish Americans to the United States.

Although the group did not give a specific reason for pulling out of the parade, it is believed that references to “controversy” in the message may refer to the decision by parade organizers to allow organizations representing gay men and women 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,” read the organization’s statement.

In December, parade organizers approved parade participation by OUTVETS, an organization that honors lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender military veterans. Organizers has also recently approved marchers from Boston Pride, the planners of the city’s annual June parade honoring the LGBT community.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Harvard made the announcement last month that it would not participate in the parade because OUTVETS had been invited to march.




Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day parade.