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Gay Marchers Welcomed at St. Pat’s Parade _ in Cambridge

March 13, 1995

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ For the first time in years, David O’Connor and Cathleen Finn felt welcome marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. No court order. No police escorts in riot gear. No jeering spectators.

Barred from marching in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston, the leaders of the Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston accepted an invitation to celebrate the green across the river in Cambridge instead.

``It’s wonderful to see everybody coming together under the Irish banner,″ O’Connor, a native Dubliner and spokesman for GLIB, said Sunday. ``This morning, we’ve had all sorts of people from other groups come over and say they’re glad we are here _ even some veterans.″

About 50 men and women marched down Massachusetts Avenue under GLIB’s three arches of green, white and orange balloons. Finn and O’Connor helped carry the banner.

The contingent from GLIB was much larger in Cambridge than it had been in 1992 and 1993, when court orders allowed a handful of gay and lesbian activists to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parades put on by a veterans group in South Boston.

Last year, the veterans group cancelled their parade rather than abide by another court order letting the GLIB team march. This year, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council declared its parade a protest march, and a federal judge upheld their right to keep the gay group out.

About 12,000 people attended the parade. Mayor Kenneth Reeves and ex-Mayor Walter Sullivan walked at the front of about 1,300 marchers as a band played ``God Bless America.″

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