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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will not participate in South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade

Posted by Jack Pickell  March 16, 2014 09:32 AM

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has released a statement announcing he will not participate in the annual South Boston St. Patrickís Day parade:

The St. Patrick's Day parade was born out of the celebration of Evacuation Day, a day set aside to recognize and honor our military and those brave Americans who have banded together for the sake of freedom. And so much of our Irish history has been shaped by the fight against oppression.

I'm disappointed that this year, I will be unable to participate in the parade. As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city. Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible.

I look forward to participating in this morning's breakfast with my friend Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, and I plan to spend the afternoon with my family. On behalf of my entire staff, we wish the entire city a happy Saint Patrick's Day.

Late Saturday night, Walsh tried in vain to reach a compromise between parade organizers and an openly gay group of veterans seeking to participate.

The now-decades-old controversy has led beer-maker Sam Adams to pull its support from the parade -- a move that was met with backlash from at least one Boston restaurant that announced it would no longer serve Sam Adams beer.

Columnist Margery Eagan wrote in today's Boston Herald that an array of corporate "supporters" of the parade are no longer associating their names with the event:

First the Westin Waterfront. Gone. Then Gillette. Then Clear Channelís JAMíN 94.5, which used to send a float. Then Entercomís WAAF 97.7/107.3, which sent a float with a station banner. Then Entercomís WEEI 93.7, which sent station street teams to hand out Red Sox schedules along the route. Then CBS localís Mix 104.1 and AMP 103.3, which used to send station cars. Then Great Mediaís Hot 96.9 FM. Gone, gone, gone, gone, and gone.

A parade official explained that gay people are welcome to march in the parade, the Associated Press reported:

Lead parade organizer Philip Wuschke Jr. said gay people are not prohibited from marching. He said organizers do not want the parade to turn into a demonstration for a particular group.

Walsh isn't the only local politician taking a pass on this year's parade. The Boston Globe reported that dozens of others are staying away:

More than 45 city councilors, state legislators who represent Boston, statewide elected officials, US representatives and senators, and gubernatorial hopefuls are set to miss the event Sunday, said the politicians or their aides.

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