(15) Tue 20 Jun 95 17:38 By: Robin Murray-o'hair To: All Re: It's a Parade for the Irish S

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(15) Tue 20 Jun 95 17:38 By: Robin Murray-o'hair To: All Re: It's a Parade for the Irish St: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ @EID:89d3 1ed48cc0 @MSGID: 1:382/1006.0 8834FA32 @TID: WILDMAIL!/WC v4.11 94-0279 SUPREME COURT RULES IT'S A PARADE FOR THE IRISH The Saint Patrick's Parade in Boston, Massachusetts is legendary, with as many as 20,000 marchers and a million spectators. But for three years now, there has been a fight over whether or not the parade is a private activity of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council or simply a recreational event open to anyone. Gays and lesbians, deciding it represented the latter, demanded to be included in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994. The organizers of the parade, however, maintained that their associational and free-speech rights would be violated if they were forced to include the gay groups and their message. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the U.S. District Court both agreed with the gay community who then joined the marches in 1992 and 1993. The Veterans cancelled the parade in 1994 rather than include the gays. The Veterans Council wants to commemorate only the role of the "traditional families in Irish history." On Monday, June 19, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the parade is an expressive activity of a particular association as such that it can exclude other groups in order to protect its own free speech rights. Writing for the majority of the Court, Justice Souter maintained that "The issue in this case is whether Massachusetts may require private citizens who organize a parade to include among the marchers a group imparting a message the organizers do not wish to convey. We hold that such a mandate violates the First Amendment." The gay marchers, who were represented by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, had argued for inclusion in the parade solely on the basis of a Massachusetts public accommodations law. The Supreme Court therefore ruled on that question alone and did not approach the question of whether the parade was an official action of the city of Boston. Until 1992, the city allowed the veterans' group sponsoring the parade to use the city seal and financially supported the parade. The exclusion of gays and Atheists from the Boy Scouts of America has been challenged in several states under the same logic of public accommodation laws. This decision may mean that lower court decisions upholding the BSA's right to exclusion would be viewed favorably by the Supreme Court. The St. Patrick's Day Parade decision was No. 94-749, Hurley et al vs. Irish-American Gay et al. --30-- ----------------------------------------------------------- THEISTWATCH An educational service provided by American Atheists, P O Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195, Telephone (512) 458-1244, FAX: (512) 467-9525, BBS: (512) 302-0223, Fidonet 1:382/1006. For information on American Atheists, e-mail: info@atheist.org. * WCE 2.0/2394 * American Atheists Online at 512-302-0223 --- WILDMAIL!/WC v4.11 * Origin: American Atheists Online (512) 302-0223 (1:382/1006.0) SEEN-BY: 102/2 850 851 890 943 270/101 280/1 31 333 396/1 3615/50 @PATH: 382/1006 29 91 92 3615/50 396/1 280/1 102/2 851

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