Mayor Marty Walsh says Boston is putting years of controversy behind it with an inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade Sunday with gay advocacy groups marching after being excluded from the event for 20 years 

The U-S Supreme Court ruled organizers of the South Boston St Patrick's Day Parade had a constitutional right to exclude gay groups in 1995. And they exercised that right for twenty years.

But now that's over. Earlier this week parade organizers accepted OUTVETS, a gay veterans group. Afterward, Walsh said he'd be the first Boston mayor in decades to march in the parade. 

Now a larger group, Boston Pride, has also been accepted as a parade participant. President Sylvain Bruni said his group learned of their inclusion in a fairly anti-climactic way. They applied and got a letter of acceptance, without further explanation.

 "That surprised us but at the same time we think it was about time that the parade open its doors to all LGBT people. It is an evolution of the mentalities within their organization and the fact that now they don't see LGBT people marching in the parade as an issue is a testimony to they realize who we are and LGBT are just like anybody else and we'll just be celebrating." 

Bruni says organizers may be responding to years of criticism over their exclusion of gays. He says his group's acceptance into the parade is also the result of increased diversity in South Boston. Boston Pride isn't out to make a statement, Bruni says, and will follow parade rules against political messages.