John “Wacko” Hurley, the man who for decades sought to keep LGBT groups out of the South Boston St. Patricks Day Parade, has left the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, the group which organizes the parade. Hurley confirmed the news with the Reporter today.
Due to health issues, Hurley, 84, has not been able to attend council meetings in the last six months, he said, and did not cast a ballot in the group’s votes to allow LGBT groups OUTVETS and, more recently, Boston Pride, to march in the annual parade. The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council voted 5-4 in December to allow OUTVETS, an LGBT veterans group, to march in the parade.
Hurley said if he were present, he would “absolutely” vote against allowing OUTVETS to march in Sunday’s parade. “They’re just interfering, that’s all it is. They get a parade in June in town, so I don’t know why they need to do this,” Hurley said, referring to the annual Pride parade in Boston.
Hurley is the longtime council leader who championed the veterans’ position to deny gay groups entry into the parade in the 1990s, and won a 1995 Supreme Court case, upholding the group’s decision to bar an LGBT group from marching in the privately held parade.
Every year, the St. Patricks Day Parade passes Hurley’s home in 4th Street. This year, the parade route was altered due to the snow, and will no longer pass his home. Hurley said though the route is still only one block away, “I don’t know if I can get up over the hill. I just have to take it one day at a time.”
While Hurley will no longer be a voting member of the council, he said he remains a lifetime member.