DotOUT backs Flaherty and three councillors running for reelection

The Dorchester civic group aimed at promoting gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual rights threw its support behind three incumbents and former City Councillor Michael Flaherty.

Following a Sunday afternoon forum at the Savin Bar + Kitchen in Dorchester’s Savin Hill neighborhood, the group, known as DotOUT, voted to endorse Flaherty and City Councillors At-Large Ayanna Pressley, Felix Arroyo and John Connolly.

Voters on Nov. 8 will be able to pick four out of the seven candidates on the ballot.

City Council At-Large candidates Sean Ryan and Will Dorcena participated in the forum, and Dorcena unsuccessfully faced off against Flaherty in a second round of voting afterward. Incumbent City Councillor Stephen Murphy did not attend.

Forum topics ranged from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, a city agency that is often targeted as too powerful, to the South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade, which does not allow gay rights groups to march.

Flaherty, a South Boston resident, said he participates in the parade, but added that he was one of the first city officials to back gay marriage.

Connolly said he stopped marching after an office staffer said he found the parade's exclusion of gay groups offensive.

Flaherty, looking to return to the council after leaving in 2009 to run for mayor, criticized the incumbents, saying they have been "bullied" by Mayor Thomas Menino.

The comment drew a rebuke from Connolly later in the forum, who noted that he criticized the city over expired frozen food served in schools.

Connolly also pointed to Arroyo's opposition to library branch closures and praised Pressley's work on behalf of victims of violence.

"We've never hesitated to stand up for what we think is right," Connolly said.