Dishonesty Kills Movements

A lot of drama exploded over Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. According to every account I had read the organizations of the parade had banned gay rights activist groups from participating in the parade. I didn’t bother digging into the story because I had other things to do. Yesterday I decided to read a couple of stories regarding the kerfuffle to see what exactly went down. As it turns out the story has two sides. Every article I’ve come across has given the side that explains how the organizers of the event discriminated against gay activists but then I found this buried in the linked story:

Parade organizers said Monday in a press release that they had been misled by MassEquality, which had applied to march on behalf of 20 veterans, and Mayor Walsh. The application came from an affiliate of MassEquality called LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender] Veterans of Equality.

“We were unable to find any evidence of LGBT Veterans for Equality that would confirm them as a recognized Veterans Organization,” organizers said in the statement posted on their website. “It is our belief that the application submitted to us by LGBT Veterans for Equality was a ploy by them to enter this parade under false pretenses and is hereby denied.”

At a meeting in the mayor’s office Sunday night, parade organizers said, it became clear that MassEquality did not have 20 veterans who wanted to march in the parade. Instead they presented one “supposed veteran” and a group of other marchers carrying rainbow flags, parade organizers said.

“When asked about a color guard, their (lone) veteran replied that he wasn’t sure he could supply any more veterans willing to march,” the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which organizes the event, said in the statement.

Being unable to field the promised number of veterans and provide evidence that your veterans organization is at all recognized as such is quite different from parade organizations denying the applicants from marching on account of their sexual orientation. Were I organizing an event and participants misrepresented themselves I would also deny them participation.

But stories like this upset me because I feel that discrimination is a real problem and real problems are cheapened when advocates lie. Had Mass Equality simply brought up the fact that parade participants were prohibited from displaying their sexual orientation then I wouldn’t care. While I believe organizers of private events have the right to establish such rules I also believe that individuals have a right to speak out against such rules. Pointing out a rule against displays of sexual orientation would open the door for discussion. But, based on the press release by the parade organizers, that’s not what happened. Instead Mass Equality lied to the parade organizers and then lied about why it was denied the ability to participate in the parade to push its agenda.

A movement cannot succeed in the long run by being dishonest. Dishonesty is what ultimately killed the gun control movement, every segregation movement, and is beginning to kill the prohibitionist movement. I would hate to see the gay rights movement collapse due to dishonesty on behalf of some of its proponents.

One thought on “Dishonesty Kills Movements”

  1. I feel like they lied because most people would not have responded “appropriately” to the actual situation. I, for one, don’t feel it discriminatory to limit the scope of a holiday parade by requiring participants to leave behind political agendas, displays of sexual orientation, etc. A St. Patrick’s Day parade is not the appropriate venue for a march for gay rights, just as I would expect pro-lifers to be forbidden from carrying their signs in the parade.

    If, however, they aren’t allowed to participate at all because of their sexual orientation, then most people would indeed be upset. It’s all a big emotional manipulation on behalf of interest groups. Usually is.

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