Search
St Patricks Parade Gays
Retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Eric Bullen, of Westborough, Mass., left, holds an American flag as U.S. Army veteran Ian Ryan, of Dennis, Mass., front right, rolls up an OutVets banner after marching with a group representing LGBT military veterans in a Veterans Day parade in Boston, Nov. 11, 2014. The organizers of Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day parade voted to allow the group of gay veterans along with a second group, Boston Pride, to march in this year's parade.  Steven Senne—AP

Boston Sees Historic St. Patrick's Day Parade

Updated: Mar 15, 2015 3:14 PM ET

Two gay rights groups marched in Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day parade for the first time in its 114-year history on Sunday, ending a two-decade ban against participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups in the annual celebration.

LGBT rights group Boston Pride and OutVets, an organization for gay veterans, joined in the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade this year, as did Mayor Marty Walsh, who opted out last year because it didn't allow gay groups. No Boston mayor had participated in the parade since 1995, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Allied War Veterans Council's ban on participants who identified as gay.

“I’m thrilled that the St. Patrick’s Day parade is inclusive this year, and the addition of Boston Pride to the list of participants reflects the values of the South Boston neighborhood,” Walsh said in a statement before the event. “With this year’s parade, Boston is putting years of controversy behind us.”

The parade route, which winds through the city's traditional Irish-American section, was shortened by nearly half this year after heavy snowfall in recent months stymied road-clearing efforts, Reuters reports.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to boycott his city's pride parade for the second year in a row because organizers won't allow more than one gay group to participate.

Silent No More: Early Days in the Fight for Gay Rights

In commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, militants this year designated the last week in June as Gay Liberation Week and celebrated with a candlelight parade. The parade involved 300 male and female homosexuals, who marched without incident two miles from Gay Activists headquarters to a park near City Hall.
VIEW GALLERY | 15 PHOTOS
Caption from LIFE In commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, militants this year designated the last week in June as Gay Liberation Week and celebrated with a candlelight parade. The parade involved 300 male and female homosexuals, who marched without incident two miles from Gay Activists headquarters to a park near City Hall.Grey Villet—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
In commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, militants this year designated the last week in June as Gay Liberation Week and celebrated with a candlelight parade. The parade involved 300 male and female homosexuals, who marched without incident two miles from Gay Activists headquarters to a park near City Hall.
When a bill guaranteeing equal job opportunities for homosexuals stalled in New York City Council last spring, militants demonstrated at City Hall. With fists raised, they shout a football style "Gay Power" cheer at police blocking the building.
Gay rights protest, 1971.
A homosexual activist steps between a pair of police horses to be interviewed during a New York demonstration. Militants often charge police brutality and welcome arrest for the sake of publicity. They also encourage press coverage of their protest actions.
Gay rights protest, 1971.
Gay rights protest, California, 1971.
Gay rights protest, New York, 1971.
Collared by a patrolman after he deliberately crossed police barricades at New York's City Hall, Gay Activists Alliance President Jim Owles submits to arrest. Members of his organization were protesting City Council reluctance to debate a fair employment bill for homosexuals.
Gay rights protest, New York, 1971.
Gay rights protest, New York, 1971.
Gay rights protest, New York, 1971.
Gay Pride, 1971.
Gay Activists Alliance, New York, 1971.
Gay rights rally, 1971.
Gay rights event, 1971.
Caption from LIFE In commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, militants this year designated the
... VIEW MORE

Grey Villet—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
1 of 15
All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.