NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Guinness is the latest beer giant to withdraw its support for a St. Patrick's Day parade because lesbian and gay groups aren't allowed to march openly.
The beer maker late Sunday announced its decision to drop its sponsorship of Monday's parade in New York City.
Over the weekend, gay rights icon Stonewall Inn had threatened to stop selling Guinness beer if the company continued to sponsor the parade. And LGBT advocacy group GLAAD had planned an anti-Guinness event on Monday.
"We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade," Guinness said in a statement. "As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation."
Parade organizers could not be reached for comment.
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The announcement by Guinness comes days after rival Heineken (HEINY) also pulled out of the New York City parade, and Sam Adams (SAM) announced that it would no longer sponsor the Boston parade for the same reason.
Both parades have policies under which sexual orientation is not allowed to be displayed, meaning marchers are not able to hold signs or wear shirts identifying themselves as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender).
"Today, Guinness sent a strong message to its customers and employees; discrimination should never be celebrated," GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.
The speaker of the New York City Council also congratulated the three beer companies on their decisions.
"I want to commend Guinness, Sam Adams and Heineken for taking a stand on behalf of the LGBT community who should be able to march openly and proudly in the St. Patrick's Day Parade," Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement.
Heineken Joins Sam Adams in Boycotting St. Patrick's Day Parade
One day after Boston bar, Club Café stated that they were refusing to serve Sam Adams beer due to their association with Boston's St.…Read…
Last week, Boston Beer Company (the makers of Samuel Adams Lager) decided topull their sponsorship from the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston, and it looks like Heineken is doing the same in New York for Monday's celebrations.
A Boston based LGBT group has called on Prime Minister of Ireland Enda Kenny to support negotiations with the organisers of the second largest Saint… Read…
Both brewing companies are doing so tosupport LGBT community members, after parade organizers ever-so-benevolently allowed LGBT members to march in the parade, but banned them from using any and all signage about sexual orientation. Gay rights groups have reached out to various authorities including Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to put their foot down, and a couple have. Boston mayor Marty Walsh did not attend the parade, and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio does not appear to be attending tomorrow's parade.
A Heineken spokesperson told CNBC, "We believe in equality for all. We are no longer a sponsor of Monday's parade."
The decision to pull the sponsorship has been lauded by gay rights activists. GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis also praised the decision:
"Heineken sent the right message to LGBT youth, customers and employees who simply want to be part of the celebration."
It's a pretty genius move to take away the second most important part of St. Patrick's day to make a legitimate point. Still, it's unfortunate that people quite literally need to be forced into sobriety to understand how ludicrous the anti-LGBT sentiment really is.
Sam Adams Pulls Out Of St. Patrick's Parade Over Gay Exclusion
Billionaire Jim Koch’s Boston Beer SAM +1.41% Co., producer of the popular Sam Adams brew, will no longer be sponsoring Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because of the organizer’s failure to include LGBT groups.
The move comes after a Boston bar said it would no longer serve Sam Adams beer because of its support of the parade.
Gay rights advocacy group MassEquality and organizers of the South Boston parade, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, have been embroiled in talks attempting to broker a deal to allow 20 LGBT veterans to march. A 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that the council could include or exclude groups at its discretion.
Founder and Brewer Jim Koch (Samuel Adams via AP Images)
Organizers reportedly objected to MassEquality’s request that its members be allowed to carry banners displaying their sexual orientation. They also noted the group in question, LGBT Veterans for Equality, was not a recognized veterans’ organization. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and U.S. congressman Stephen Lynch intervened, but a resolution was not reached.
“We were hopeful that both sides of this issue would be able to come to an agreement that would allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in the parade. But given the current status of the negotiations, we realize this may not be possible,” Boston Beer Co. said in a statement its spokesperson referred inquiries to. “We share these sentiments with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch and others and therefore we will not participate in this year’s parade.”
The parade, scheduled for Sunday, is one of the largest in the country and draws as many as 1 million spectators to South Boston. A statement issued by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council read:
“We are approached by all types of groups. Some of which try to destroy the integrity of not only this parade, but our faith, this town and our Country.”
“Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of our Irish. We invite all to join us to celebrate this historic event, but we must maintain our guidelines to insure the enjoyment and public safety of our spectators.”
Parade organizer Philip J Wuschke Jr told the Guardian: “Our theme is St Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day. It isn’t a sexually oriented parade. They have parades for that.”
Mayor Walsh has said he will not march in protest. In New York, mayor Bill de Blasio will also boycott the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because it does not permit LGBT participants to display their orientation.
Jim (James) Koch landed on the Forbes billionaires list for the first time in 2014, thanks to soaring stock in his Boston Beer Company. Shares of the largest craft brewery in the nation rose 50% in the last year.
Stock prices of Boston Beer Co. Inc. fell 2% between Monday and Wednesday this week but have since recovered.
on Mar. 17, 2014 at 12:48 AM