Dan Magoon, who heads an organization to honor and support Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families, today quit his honorary position as head of the South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade after its organizers voted to bar a gay veterans group from the procession.
Mayor Walsh also said this morning he will not march in the parade if the votes stands.
In a message to the board of the Allied War Veterans Council this morning, Magoon, founder of Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, explained his decision to step down as chief marshal:
I have worked hard over the years to support returning Veterans and their families. We have fought battles across this City, State and Country in regards to Veterans rights, benefits, employment, mental health, discriminatory practices, and many other significant areas important to our Veterans. To be a part of a parade excluding OutVets does not coincide with the work I do advocating for all Veterans.
The severity that this decision weighs not only negatively impacts OutVets, but also the families of Veterans, thus crating a ripple effect across our community.
I wish the parade success. The freedoms that we possess to hold such an event is due to the men and women who have spilled their blood in defense to this great nation, regarless of where they come from, what they look like, or who they share relations with.
OutVets had marched in the 2015 and 2016 parades after years of being barred from the parade.. The Globe reports the council voted 9-4 to bar them again.
In a statement this morning, Mayor Walsh said:
I will not tolerate discrimination in our city of any form. We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city. I will not be marching in the parade unless this is resolved. Anyone who values what our city stands for should do the same.