In 2015, LGBT+ veterans were allowed to march in Boston’s iconic St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the first time. The decision to include gay and lesbian vets had not been an easy one nor quick in coming. For over 25 years, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council had banned those who were not heterosexual from the parade, even winning a Supreme Court case in 1995 which allowed them to continue discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
When the council reversed their decision — in a 5-4 vote — it was a clear sign of progress. But now, a week before this year’s parade hits the streets, the group has banned the LGBT+ community from the event once again.
The Washington Post reports that OutVets, one of the two LGBT+ groups that has been marching for the past two years has been unceremoniously dropped from the festivities after a 9-4 vote of the council on Tuesday. The reason behind the decision to switch course? According to the council, it was OutVets’ logo that caused the problem. Because the group’s insignia features “a small rainbow patch,” the parade organizers decided that the group’s message was less about inclusion and more about “gay sexuality,” which made the group ineligible to participate.
The council offered OutVets a chance to march if they removed the rainbow from their logo, but the group demurred, pointing out that if their rainbow was an indicator of homosexual sex (it isn’t, but people who oppose LGBT rights have a tendency to conflate sexual orientation with actual sexual activity), then all rainbows present at the parade would need to be removed in order to cut out the connotation.