Boston officials have approved an application that would allow a group to hold a “Straight Pride Parade” meant to counter the city’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade.
The Wednesday approval puts organizers one step closer to holding the parade at the end of August, city officials confirmed to HuffPost. The application was sent by John Hugo, president of Super Happy Fun America, the group organizing the parade. The group’s slogan is, “it’s great to be straight.”
“We just had a great meeting at city hall with a bunch of wonderful professionals who have assured us our date of Aug. 31,” Hugo said at a press conference, according to The Boston Globe. “We will have the parade, and it’s going to be a great time. We invite anyone who wants to come, as long as they respect each other.”
The city denied the group’s original request to hold an event at City Hall Plaza and a “straight pride” flag-raising. The group also still needs approvals from the Boston Police Department and the city’s licensing board before receiving the parade permit and entertainment license, the city confirmed.
The group’s members say that straight people “are an oppressed majority” and should be “included as equals among all of the other orientations.” The organizers are heavily linked with far-right movements and nationalist protests, according to the Independent.
Hugo and the group’s vice president, Mark Sahady, are both associated with Resist Marxism, which the Independent calls a far-right group with links to white supremacist organizations. Hugo also unsuccessfully ran for Congress last year and was endorsed by the group.
Sahady also allegedly organized a right-wing Free Speech Rally and Rally for the Republic in Boston, the news organization reported. The rallies occurred after the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counterprotester was killed.
Super Happy Fun America also announced that the parade’s “grand marshal” will be former Breitbart editor and far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has previously said that Boston cannot deny Super Happy Fun America’s public event application over disagreements with the organizers’ values or beliefs. City officials reiterated that stance on Wednesday.
“Permits to host a public event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements or beliefs. The City of Boston cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values,” the mayor tweeted on June 6. He added: “Whatever outside groups may try [to] do, our values won’t change. I invite each and every person to stand with us, and show that love will always prevail.”
The mayor attended the city’s June 8 Pride Parade, and will not be attending the “Straight Pride Parade” on Aug. 31, according to the city.