One day a year, the Irish-by-blood celebrate side-by-side with the Irish-for-the-day. St. Patrick’s day is one holiday that everyone can get behind. Unless you’re gay and Irish. Then you have a choice: do you celebrate your heritage with everyone else, or do you sit out because the parade won’t allow any open displays of homosexuality?
In 1994, a group of gay Irish wanted to march in Boston’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade but were turned away by those organizing the event. The gays sued the committee. The lengthy litigation process actually canceled the parade that year. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1995, which ruled in the organizers’ favor, but only after they countersued. According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the parade sponsor’s right to ban Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Irish-Americans from marching openly was protected under their expression of the First Amendment.