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Boston’s mayor refused to march in St. Patrick’s day parade; “I’m not marching if people can’t express who they are.”

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By, Heather Warner

Boston mayor Marty Walsh refused to march in the city’s Saint Patrick’s day parade on Sunday. He was upset over the parade’s policy of not allowing the gay community to express their sexuality.

Southeast St. Patrick’s day parade featured just about everything from the traditional to the unexpected. But many in attendance say two were noticeably absent–Mayor Marty Walsh and mass equality.

Mayor Walsh says, “One person wouldn’t budge on the banner. I’m not marching in the parade if people can’t express who they are.”

For weeks Walsh worked to broker a deal but talks stalled and eventually stopped.  “It has been difficult. The conflict has been difficult.” That, from Michael Dowling, who represents one of the two sanctioned groups promoting diversity. He says his group was accept and rejected and accepted again. He applauds the new mayor.  “He is setting himself up to be a broker of peace and community in the city that is much needed,” he says.

There has been a lot of emotion involving the decision. South Boston resident Randy Foster who is openly gay also marched. Foster doesn’t believe change can be quick or forced.  “Just like when you move into a new neighborhood. Got to meet the neighbors and get to know them. Take small steps,” he says.

To go along with this, Guinness beer announced Sunday it’s pulling out of the Saint Patrick’s day parade in New York City because lesbian and gay groups aren’t allowed to march openly.

The announcement by Guinness comes just days after Heineken dropped out of New York’s parade.  Also, Sam Adams announced it will no longer sponsor the Saint Patty’s day parade in Boston. Both parades have policies that do no allow sexual orientation to be displayed.

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