Opinion: Boycotting the St. Patrick’s Parade Right Move for Walsh, Businesses

by Jake Flynn
BHS News

Every year the city of Boston is flooded with people flaunting green and orange for the annual parade. The normal hype of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was hindered this year by the decision of the parade’s organizers to not allow gays to openly march in the parade.

This isn’t anything new; gays have never been allowed to openly march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year on voice made a difference. Boston’s mayor, Martin J. Walsh, said that he would not march in the parade if gays were not allowed to openly march too. With this the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) decided to no longer sponsor the parade, along with Heineken who no longer wanted to be associated with the parade. Soon after Westin and Gillette also decided to not support the parade. The website for the St. Patrick’s Day parade (http://www.southbostonparade.org/index-4.html#partners) read, “We’re updating our supporters, thank you for your patience.” (3/15/14 7:18PM).

Businesses such as those who have boycotted the parade see with clear eyes that there is no place for homophobia, nor a market for it, in our society. Decisions like these are what gets attention, creates stories for news teams, and gains supports for gays. Mayor Marty Walsh expressed his disapproval of the parade, as did many gay veterans who made their own choice not to march in the parade. Veterans are veterans, they served our country just as another veteran did and because they are gay a parade that is supposed to support the military does not support its growing population of gay soldiers and veterans.

While gays were allowed to march if they did not do so openly, there would have been no point in doing so. This is America where we have freedom of speech so why should gays not have the freedom to speak, as they want. Firefighters carry their banners, as do police officers. In a changing society many of our traditions have to change too, not for the worse, and not for the better, just for equality.

Jake Flynn is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition