The nonprofit veterans organization that runs South Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade took a step Monday toward ending a longstanding ban on allowing gay organizations to march, The Boston Globe reports. The vote by the Allied War Veterans Council to include Outvets, a group honoring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender veterans, marks a potentially significant development in what has become an annual dispute over the parade's inclusiveness.
The council won a Supreme Court ruling in the 1990s allowing it, as a private organization, to bar marchers who proclaimed their sexual orientation. Outvets, which formed in September, said it had no political or social agenda and was created to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of LGBT military personnel.
"To other people, it will be a big thing," Brian Mahoney, commander of the council, said of the 5–4 vote. "But to us, it's a group of veterans that wanted to march and deserved to be honored."