Speed Read: Crowd cheers rainbows
COLOR-CODED IN BOSTON: The crowd along the St. Patrick’s Day Parade route in Boston Sunday cheered loudly for a contingent of about 30 men who walked alongside a rainbow-colored float and tossed out green and rainbow-colored beads, reported the Boston Globe. Boston’s new mayor didn’t march in the parade organized by the Allied War Veterans (AWV), which continued to refuse to allow any contingent to identify itself as LGBT. The men, who the Globe identified as gay, marched as a neighborhood group, with AWV permission to display a banner saying “Celebrate the diversity of Boston.”
UNIFORMED MESSAGE? New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, decided not to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan Saturday and attended a gay friendly one earlier in the month. But he still came under some criticism from LGBT community leaders for declining a request to bar city workers from marching in the exclusionary event in their city uniforms.
BEER BATTLES OVER PARADES: Two prominent beer producers pulled out of two high-profile St. Patrick’s Day parades, citing the refusal of parade organizers to allow openly LGBT participation. The Boston Beer Company, best known for its Sam Adams beer, withdrew as the prime sponsor of the Boston parade organized by Allied War Veterans; Heineken withdrew from the New York City parade organized by the non-profit NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade group. Guinness remained a sponsor of the New York event, and today, GLAAD and a group called Irish Queers plan to dump Guinness beer from the shelves of the Stonewall Inn in protest.
SAN FRANCISCO, SEATTLE MARCH FORWARD: An openly LGBT contingent participated in San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day parade this year; and openly gay Seattle Mayor Ed Murray participated in Seattle’s parade Saturday. The group that organizes the San Francisco parade said the SF Pride group wasn’t invited but that the parade is “all-inclusive.”
INDIANA NOW HAS FIVE LAWSUITS: Three new lawsuits were filed last Friday to challenge Indiana’s statutory ban on same-sex couples marrying, bringing to five the number of lawsuits now pending against the ban –all filed in the same week. One, Bowling v. Pence, was filed by two couples married in Iowa: one seeks recognition by Indiana in order for one spouse, a state employee, to obtain health coverage for her wife; the other seeks the ability to divorce her spouse. A second, Lee v. Pence, is four couples married in other states seeking the ability to have their spouses identified as beneficiaries in pension-related matters. The third, Fujii v. Indiana, was filed by the ACLU on behalf of 14 plaintiffs with various causes of action, including estate taxes and to gain a sense of family and security for children. Lawsuits were filed early in the week by Lambda Legal and by private attorneys.
RAND PAUL SEEKS NEUTRALITY: Potential Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul appears to be trying to stake out a neutral position on marriage for same-sex couples. In an interview with the news organization vcative.com, Paul said “different parts of the country” should be able to decide for themselves whether same-sex couples can marry, based on their “local mores and culture.” “But when it comes to taxes and benefits,” he said, “the [federal] government ought to take a neutral position—a way where marriage wouldn’t have an effect, positive or negative, on those things.” Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz was unimpressed: “The same was said of race and inter-racial marriage at points in our history. The simple fact is that the denial of this fundamental right is discrimination and that’s un-American in all 50 states.”