Lawyer accuses Boston Mayor of Pressuring St. Pat’s Parade organizers to include OUTVETS

OUTVETS
OUTVETS, a national LGBTQ veterans organization, marching in Boston's 2014 Veterans Day Parade. Photo courtesy of OUTVETS

A lawyer representing South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has filed a complaint accusing Mayor Marty Walsh of pressuring organizers to include OUTVETS, a national LGBTQ veterans organization, to march in the parade.

“The lawyer, Chester Darling, made the accusations in an amended complaint filed this week to an earlier civil lawsuit accusing Mayor Martin Walsh of strong-arming organizers in 2014 with thinly veiled threats to withhold permits,” according to an August 3 New England Cable News report.

“It’s not true. It’s completely not true,” Walsh told the Boston Herald, also on Aug. 3. “I don’t know what veterans are claiming that, but they should call me if there’s an issue.”

Reports NECN:

According to the complaint, the mayor at one point got into a profanity-laden shouting match with parade organizer Philip Wuschke, and later apologized in a voicemail that Darling provided to The Boston Globe.

“Hands off our parade, that’s all we want,” Darling told the newspaper.

Walsh ended his personal boycott of the parade last year when the organizers agreed to let OUTVETS participate.

In March, a federal judge ruled against the city’s bid to shorten this year’s parade route. Police Commissioner William Evans cited public safety concerns in seeking the shorter route, but the complaint alleges the move was retaliatory on Walsh’s behalf.

Walsh maintains that he was within his legal rights to encourage organizers to allow OUTVETS to march. As he put it back in 2014:

This is a groundbreaking historical moment that we should all be proud of. Boston is an inclusive community where everyone deserves to live, work, and play. I commend OUTVETS on their efforts to ensure that the hard work of LGBTQ veterans are recognized and honored in our City.

OUTVETS is an incorporated veterans service organization dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of our country’s LGBTQ veterans.  Founded in September 2014 and recognized by the American Legion, OUTVETS first marched in Boston’s Veterans Day Parade in November 2014.