Southie Organizers Have New Reasons They Won’t Let an LGBT Group March

Organizers are citing rule violations, not opposition to homosexuality, as the reason for rejecting Mass Equality.

Talks reportedly broke down between organizers of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the LGBT group that seeks to march in it. The new reasons cited by organizers, as usual, make the objections to an LGBT group’s participation seem more complicated than they are.

Rather than say outright that they reject homosexuality, organizers usually lean on euphemisms like “the parade is about Irish and military values.” Now, they’re citing rulebook violations. Organizers wrote in a statement this week:

It is our belief that the application submitted to us by LGBT Veterans for Equality was a ploy by them to enter this parade under false pretenses and is hereby denied. It is our intention to keep this parade a family friendly event. We will not allow any group to damage the Integrity of the historic event or our reputation as a safe and fun filled day for all.

What they mean by “false pretenses,” according to the Herald, is that MassEquality isn’t a legitimate veterans group and does not have enough veterans who want to march with them.

You might be inclined to think that the real reason parade organizers won’t let MassEquality march is the same reason they never march: they are gay. Parade organizers combat that idea by reminding critics that they’ll allow any gay people to march in the parade. They even offered to let MassEquality march as a group under the organization’s banner … so long as they didn’t identify themselves as LGBT with signs or T-shirts. It’s not that they’re gay: it’s that “the parade has a written code of conduct that prohibits references to sexual orientation,” according to the Globe.

“To our surprise, the offer was rejected by MassEquality’s representative Kara Coredini,” organizers wrote in a press release. “Her rejection was based on the fact that we would not allow LGBT veterans to identify themselves as openly gay by means of signage and T-shirts identifying them as LGBT veterans. This clearly violates our code of conduct.”

It’s hard to read whether that surprise is feigned or whether organizers genuinely do not understand the special significance in codifying a rule wherein an LGBT person must refrain from identifying him or herself in public.

Either way, the code violation, while it might seem like an attempt to disguise moral objection to MassEquality as instead a case of just following the rules as written, gets at the real forces behind the parade organizers’ intransigence.  We’re all still left suspecting that the reason talks break down as they always do is that parade organizers answer to a constituency of people like those running the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Harvard, who withdrew from this year’s parade lest anyone mistake them for “condoning the homosexual agenda” With progress once again looking unlikely, it seems the school can march once again, confident that affiliation with the Southie parade implies just the opposite of condoning a gay agenda.