The mayor of South Boston granted authority to organize and conduct an annual parade to the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council (Council), an unincorporated association of individuals. In 1992, the Irish-American Gay Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston (GLIB) (plaintiff) applied for and was denied an opportunity to march in the parade by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council. It received a state court order overturning this decision, however, and marched in the parade without incident. In 1993, after GLIB was again refused an opportunity to march by the Council, the organization and its members filed suit in state court against John Hurley, the Council, and the city of Boston (defendants). GLIB alleged violations of a Massachusetts law prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation in places of public accommodation. The trial court ordered the Council to include GLIB in the parade, and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.