HARVARD -- The Immaculate Heart of Mary School is back in the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade after learning that the involvement of MassEquality was rejected.

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council alleged that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Veterans for Equality misled them, stating on their application that they had 20 willing veterans to march, according to a press release.

At a closed-door meeting on Sunday, the council said it was clear that the group only had one veteran to march.

"It is our belief that the application submitted to us by LGBT Veterans for Equality was a ploy by them to enter this parade under false pretenses and is hereby denied," the group wrote in the press release.

MassEquality had not released a statement regarding the council's decision at the time this article was written on Tuesday.

With the group's rejection, the school will now march with a float and its marching band as it has done for many years.

"We heard the good news that the application by MassEquality was rejected, so we're back in," said Brother Thomas Dalton, principal of the school. "The students were very happy when I announced that this morning."

Dalton said the decision was terrific and everyone applauded when they heard it.

"We thank the veterans for taking a stand," he said. "Our hats off to them.

The school announced Monday that it was going to pull out of the parade after seeing reports that the gay rights group would be allowed to march.


Advertisement

After the first decision to withdraw, Dalton said that the school did not want to appear to condone the homosexual lifestyle that is contrary to the church and what St. Patrick stood for.

"We decided years ago that if the gays ever marched in the St. Patrick's Day Parade, we would not march with our school or with the float that we provide with St. Patrick on it," he said.

Multiple media reports claimed that parade organizers had invited MassEquality, the statewide advocacy group, to march.

But MassEquality had clarified in a statement that they had not reached a formal deal with parade organizers, and only learned about the invitation through a media report.

On Sunday night, the group met with a parade organizer, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who had been pushing for the group's acceptance into the parade. The group maintains that it will only march if lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can march "openly and honestly," according to a statement from Executive Director Kara Coredini issued on Monday.

Coredini said on Monday that no agreement had been reached, but there was an ongoing conversation.

"The fact that parade organizers are willing to have a continuing conversation with MassEquality about LGBT people and the parade is important and historic," she said in the statement.

Even if the group had marched without any obvious LGBT signs, Dalton said the school would not change its mind.

"I think for us it's black and white," he said. "If they're in in any way, then we're not going to be participating."

The school will now have its 45-member band march in front of a float carrying a few other students. This year is the band's 25th year in the parade, according to a statement from the school band director.

After the decision to withdraw, Dalton said the students were disappointed, but were "very much behind" the school's decision. Dalton had said that the school would still like to be involved if the advocacy group did not end up in the parade.

Walsh had threatened not to march in the annual parade if the group was excluded.

Walsh said in a statement on Monday that the meeting between MassEquality and parade organizers was positive.

"I believe the conversation that took place in my office last night, and the conversations about diversity and inclusion that are taking place in our neighborhoods, and across our country, make our communities stronger," he said.

Walsh said Monday that the parties remained optimistic about a solution for an "inclusive celebration."

But Dalton said on Monday that it is "too bad" that Walsh intervened. 

"I think he knows better," Dalton said. "He's Irish Catholic and he's not standing behind what the church believes and teaches."

The school also pulled out of the parade in the early '90s when another gay rights group was allowed to march, Dalton said. State courts ordered the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council -- the parade organizer -- to include the Irish American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston in the parade.

Dalton said the school testified in the state's Superior Court back then, explaining the reason they pulled out.

When the issue went to the Supreme Court with John "Wacko" Hurley as the plaintiff, all nine justices ruled in the council's favor and against requiring the parade to include the group.

Follow Amelia on Twitter and Tout @AmeliaPakHarvey.