Under Sunny Skies, St. Patrick’s Day Parade Begins, but Without a Mayor
Mayor Martin J. Walsh. son of Irish immigrants, was conspicuously absent, after saying he would not participate because of gays’ exclusion.
The parade, which has been held since 1901, winds through 3.7 miles of the neighborhood, a long-time Irish-American enclave that is seeing an influx of newcomers.
After weeks of discussions with the organizers of the parade, Walsh announced this morning that he would not take part in the event.
“I’m disappointed that this year, I will be unable to participate in the parade,” he said in a statement. “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.”
For two decades, gay men and lesbians have been excluded from openly marching in the parade. Walsh worked until the last minute to bring the statewide gay rights organization MassEquality and parade organizers from the Allied War Veterans Council to an agreement that would have changed that but to no avail.