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Gay Pride Float Sneaks Into Boston’s St. Pat’s Parade

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Mar 17, 2014

While event organizers for the event wouldn't allow openly LGBT people to march in the annual event, the Boston Globe reports a small group of people were able to sneak into the city's parade with a pro-gay float Sunday.

The newspaper reports the group, about 30 members (mostly gay men), were on a float that carried a rainbow cannon. They were able to infiltrate the Boston parade and hand out about 500 pairs of green and rainbow color bead necklaces. When the float began to march up Broadway Street in South Boston, the Globe reports the crowd "began to cheer loudly."

"This is a blast. You can feel the energy," Randy Foster, who lives a few block off the parade route and spearheaded the float, told the Globe. "I don't know if they know I'm gay. And who cares?"

The newspaper notes the marchers were not a gay advocacy group but marched as a "community group that had coalesced around building a park. Many of the people walking with the float just happened to be gay."

"These are my neighbors and friends," Ellie Kasper, a long-time South Boston resident who marched with the group, told the Globe. "They work very hard in the neighborhood. I love them. I think this is reality. They did their work, and they are representing our neighborhood."

She added that, "the moral of the story is, you have beads and they will like you."

The float was pulled by a pickup truck that carried a banner that read, "Celebrate the diversity of Boston."

When the group applied to march in the parade, they described their entry as a "diversity float" that would include all races, ethnicities and sexual orientations. Parade organizers approved the float and even allowed them to wear scarves with different colors and symbols, including an equal sign for gay rights, though none of the marchers wore the scarves.

"You've got 25 gay guys marching," Foster told the newspaper. "Any of them could have chosen to wear a scarf to make a statement. None of them did."

Parade organizers said that LGBT people weren't allowed to openly march in the event, causing Boston Brewery Company, maker of Sam Adams beer, to pull its sponsorship of the event. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also snubbed Sunday's parade due to the anti-gay police. Similar impacts have occurred in relation to New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will be sitting out of Monday's event and officials from Guinness have pulled sponsorship as well.


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