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Deal held up over gays marching in Boston parade

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 3, 2014 at 3:01 p.m.

BOSTON — A gay rights advocacy group said Monday that it is pushing for gay people to be allowed to march "openly and honestly" in Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade, but an agreement has not been reached with parade organizers.

It appeared Saturday as if Boston Mayor Martin Walsh had brokered a deal between MassEquality and parade organizers to allow gay military veterans to march under the group's banner, but the deal was not finalized even after both sides met a day later. The sticking point is whether and how members of the group can identify themselves in the parade.

"LGBT people need to be able to identify themselves as LGBT people. It's as simple as that. There's a lot of ways that can be done, and that is a conversation we're having now with organizers," MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini said Monday.

"I'm hopeful that we'll get to a place where we'll be marching in the parade, but we're not there yet," she said.

Tim Duross, the parade coordinator, said the two sides have reached a stalemate. He said the parade sponsor, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, is willing to allow the gay veterans to march with the MassEquality banner, but said they are insisting that they be able to carry signs and wear T-shirts identifying themselves as gay. He said organizers want the focus of the parade to be on celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

"The fact that they need to identify themselves as openly gay veterans is kind of where the stalemate lies. I don't know why that's so important in this parade," Duross said.

"We are not planning romances here. We are just putting on a parade."

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