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Gay group invited to march in St. Patrick’s Day parade with a caveat

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Organizers of South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade are inviting a statewide gay advocacy group to march, a significant first that could silence a controversy that has festered for two decades and cast a cloud over one of the city’s signature events.

But the invitation, brokered by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, includes an important caveat: The group, MassEquality, could not wear T-shirts or hold signs that include the word “gay” or refer to sexual orientation.

“They can march under the MassEquality banner,” Tim Duross, one of the parade coordinators, said Friday. “We’d be happy to have them here. And we’d be proud to have them here. Everybody knows who MassEquality is.”

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