Organizers of the Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade reversed course on Friday and said they would allow a group of gay veterans to march in this year's parade, the AP reports. The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council announced on the parade's Twitter account that it had signed an "acceptance letter" that would clear the way for OutVets to participate. OutVets did not immediately say whether it would accept the invitation to march. An earlier vote by the council to bar OutVets from marching drew immediate condemnation from high-profile politicians, some of whom said they would not march if the gay veterans were excluded. It caused some sponsors to back out and stirred up a furor on social media.
It was unclear if the reversal of the decision was a result of a second vote by the council. Earlier Friday, OutVets executive director Bryan Bishop said the vets had been told the original decision to bar them was because of their rainbow symbols. Bishop said the council offered to allow the group to march if its members did not display the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, which is on their banner and their jackets. The group said no. "It infuriates me to look at the veterans that I know, gay and straight, who have served this country with valor and honor and distinction, and just because you're a veteran who happens to be gay your service is somehow less than someone who is not of the LGBT community or someone who's not gay," he said.