March 11 (UPI) -- An LGBTQ veterans group was invited to Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade after organizers initially voted to bar them from marching.
The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council voted 11-0 to invite LGBT veterans group OUTVETS to participate in the March 19 parade.
"We look forward to marching proudly on March 19 and honoring the service and sacrifice of those brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country." OUTVETS said in a statement accepting the invitation.
OUTVETS was first allowed to march in the parade in 2015. A 9-4 vote by the council on Tuesday to exclude the group from this year's parade was widely condemned by area politicians.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced they would boycott the parade if OUTVETS was excluded.
Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and City Councilor Tito Jackson both decided to refrain from joining the parade whether the council reversed its decision or not.
"It is unacceptable to exclude anyone in our community. But the council has chosen to exclude the best of us: Veterans who have bravely served our country and put their lives on the line for our freedoms," Forry said.
Jackson said he would not march in the parade again until OUTVETS and other LGBT groups are permanently included.
U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., said the second meeting that led to the vote to include OUTVETS was attended by younger veterans who "felt blindsided by this whole controversy and...wanted to make it right."
"They're committed to getting together and changing the way [the group] operates so we don't have this every single year," he said.