[act-ma] Fwd: Veterans for Peace sues City of Boston for St. Patrick's Peace Parade permit

Cole Harrison cole at masspeaceaction.org
Fri Feb 13 13:09:57 PST 2015

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Pat Scanlon <patscanlonmusic at yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 4:57 PM
Subject: Veterans for Peace sues City of Boston for St. Patrick's Peace
Parade permit
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St Pats Parade Organizing Committee,
Attached and below is the press release from the Massachusetts ACLU that
was sent out today.
It went out at the same time the lawsuit against the City of Boston was
filed in federal court.
Please circulate this far and wide to everyone on your personal list.
Now we wait for the slow wheels of justice.
Keep your fingers crossed.

American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

Veterans for Peace sues City of Boston for St. Patrick's Peace Parade
Suit challenges City's eleven month delay in acting on permit application
and charges favoritism for South Boston parade organizers who continue to
exclude most LGBT groups.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  February 12, 2015
Christopher Ott, communications director, 617-482-3170 x322, cott at aclum.org
Patrick Scanlon, Veterans for Peace, 978-590-4248,
Vets4PeaceChapter9 at gmail.com

BOSTON -- The local Veterans for Peace Chapter 9, Smedley D. Butler Brigade
(VFP) filed a First Amendment lawsuit in federal court today against the
City of Boston because the city has refused to act in a timely way on VFP's
application for a permit to hold its annual St. Patrick's Peace Parade
beginning at noon in Boston on March 15. The delay prevents VFP from being
able to effectively organize for its parade and impedes its message.
Since 2011, VFP has organized its inclusive, non-discriminatory parade
along the same route used by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council
(AWVC), a group that has refused for many years to allow gay rights groups
and others, including VFP, to march with identifying signs. According to
Patrick Scanlon, the coordinator of the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of VFP,
the AWVC parade has begun at 1:00 p.m. in the past, and the city has
relegated the VFP's parade to commencing various distances behind the AWVC
parade, forcing it to begin late in the afternoon.
Scanlon said that despite a recent deal touted by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh,
in which the AWVC will allow one gay group, "OutVets," to march in the next
AWVC parade, the AWVC continues to bar most gay rights, peace and
environmental groups. It is not an inclusive parade like VFP's.
"Veterans for Peace applied on March 25, 2014 for a permit to march at noon
this coming March 15 to celebrate St. Patrick's Day," said Scanlon,. "We
asked the City three times, in June, September and October what was
happening with our application, and no one from the City ever responded."
The City's refusal to act on the VFP parade application makes it very
difficult for VFP to do all the organizing needed to hold a parade, he
"Unbelievably, the AWVC has told us in the past that they did not want us
in their parade because they did not want the word 'peace' associated with
the word 'veteran,'" Scanlon said. "St. Patrick was a man of peace, so the
celebration of St. Patrick—the patron saint of Ireland—should be a day to
reflect on and celebrate this great saint's deeds and words. Veterans for
Peace celebrates the life of Saint Patrick and the proud Irish traditions
without militarism. Our Peace Parade celebrating St. Patrick's Day is
inclusive and open to anyone who would like to walk for peace. As far as we
know, this is the only annual peace
  ACLU of Massachusetts :: 211 Congress St. Boston MA 02110 :: 617.482.3170
:: 617.451.0009 (f) :: www.aclum.org
 [image: page1image25728]
parade anywhere in the entire country." VFP uses the phrase "The People's
Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Environmental Stewardship, Social and
Economic Justice" to describe the event.
John Reinstein, a cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts, which
is bringing the case, explained that the City has violated VFP's First
Amendment rights by refusing to act in a timely way on the early VFP
request for a permit and by favoring later applications from the AWVC and a
road race group, even though those events do not conflict with the VFP
parade. He noted that the parade route is already set up and ready by noon
when VFP wishes to begin its parade.
"The City acts as if it can just ignore permit applications or hand out or
deny permits willy-nilly," said Reinstein. "It doesn't use any clear
standards and hasn't even followed its own regulation on parade permits.
These permit systems are supposed to be neutrally and fairly enforced. This
was anything but that." Attorneys on the case will be asking the federal
court to issue an injunction ordering the City to grant a parade permit to
VFP for March 15, starting at noon.
Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts,
acknowledged that the Supreme Court has held that the Allied War Veterans
Council of South Boston had its own First Amendment right to exclude groups
from its privately run parade. "But," she explained, "the Supreme Court
ruling doesn't mean the City can ignore the application by Vets for Peace
to parade earlier in the day or can force them to parade after the AWVC
VFP Smedley D. Butler Brigade is a chapter of the national VFP. Founded in
1985, Veterans for Peace is a national organization of men and women of all
eras and duty stations, including from World War II, the Korean, Vietnam,
Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars, as well as other conflicts. Veterans for
Peace works to expose the true costs of war and to support veterans and
civilian victims. For more information, go to www.smedleyvfp.org
For more information about the ACLU of Massachusetts, go to:
 [image: page2image18616] [image: page2image18776]
 ACLU of Massachusetts :: 211 Congress St. Boston MA 02110 :: 617.482.3170
:: 617.451.0009 (f) :: ACLU of Massachusetts <http://www.aclum.org/>

[image: image] <http://www.aclum.org/>

ACLU of Massachusetts <http://www.aclum.org/>
Because of the weather, the February 3 Amicus Luncheon with Tufts
University's Peniel Joseph has been canceled. Please email Meaghan
Giangregorio at mgiangreg...
View on www.aclum.org <http://www.aclum.org/>
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Cole Harrison
Executive Director
Massachusetts Peace Action
11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138
617-354-2169 w
617-466-9274 m
Facebook: facebook.com/masspeaceaction
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