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Rainbow Flag At Center Of Dispute Between St. Patrick's Day Parade Organizers, OutVets

BOSTON (CBS) - A late afternoon meeting between organizers of South Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade and the organization OutVets produced no resolution on whether the gay rights organization will be allowed to march. Parade organizers say there will be an emergency meeting of the council on Friday to take a new vote to permit the group to march.

OutVets got late notice Tuesday night that their application was denied by the South Boston Allied Veterans Council. Originally it appeared to be a dispute over whether the application was late. Now the council says the rainbow flag that OutVets marches with is an "outward symbol of sexuality" and in violation of their rules.

OutVets, an LGBT veterans group, marched in Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade in 2015. (Photo credit Julie Loncich/WBZ)

The group has been allowed to march for the last two years and now OutVets founder Bryan Bishop calls it "outrageous and disgusting."

"This is a travesty I thought we had moved past this, beyond bigotry and discrimination," said Bishop.

Legal battles have long surrounded the parade. Back in 1995 the council won a U.S. Supreme Court decision to exclude gay organizations on free speech grounds. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he'll now boycott the parade unless the decision is reversed joining a long list of politicians who are bowing out including Governor Charlie Baker and Congressman Seth Moulton.

"It's discrimination, we shouldn't be having this conversation anymore," said Walsh.

Now even parade grand marshal Dan Magoon, an Army veteran, says he'll bow out and might not change his mind even if the decision is reversed, to send a message. "Right now it's turning away a lot of veterans and turning away our military," he said. "Can't do that if that's what this parade is all about."

Ed Flynn, a member of the council, says he voted to allow OutVets to participate. The Navy veteran says he is "saddened and outraged" that the council "voted to turn back the clock on equality."

OutVets says if they march, they march with the rainbow flag.

Late Wednesday, Stop & Shop said they would no longer be a sponsor for the parade. "The men and women from OutVets, who have bravely served our country, deserve our respect and to be included," said Phil Tracey, a spokesman for the supermarket chain.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports

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