A St. Patrick’s Day Parade without Guinness? That’s what’s going down in New York City after the Irish brewer pulled its sponsorship of the parade over the organizers’ exclusion of LGBT community members.
Guinness announced on Sunday that it would not participate in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year because gay and lesbian groups had been banned from carrying signs or identifying their sexuality during the parade march. The parade organizers argue that allowing LGBT groups in the parade conflicts with their strict Roman Catholic/anti-homosexual heritage.
Guinness’s announcement came after Manhattan’s historic gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, said it would stop stocking Guinness over its support of the parade. The threat of gays boycotting Guinness was apparently enough to do the trick.
“Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all,” the brewer said on Sunday in a statement.
“We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.”
Guinness wasn’t the only one to withdraw support from the parade. Last week New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would not march in the parade because of the exclusion of gay and lesbian activists – but no one really cared as long as they had their precious beer. Then on Friday, Sam Adams and Heineken dropped their sponsorship of the Irish parades in both Boston and New York over the issue, prompting organizers to get a little nervous. And when Guinness pulled out of the festivities on Sunday, Monday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade got a little less Irish and a lot less fun.