Guinness Pulls Out of NYC St. Patrick’s Parade Over Gay Exclusion

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday March 17, 2014

Officials from popular Irish dry stout maker Guinness, announced Saturday that they are pulling sponsorship for New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade because participants aren't allowed to openly march as LGBT people, DNAinfo New York reports.

"Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all," the company said 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 As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation.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."

The announcement comes on the heels of a statement issued by officials from Heineken, who said they will also back out of sponsoring the annual event due to the parade's policy on LGBT people.

Boston Beer Company, makers of Sam Adams, made headlines last week when it announced it would not sponsor Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

"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 its statement. "We share these sentiments with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch and others and therefore we will not participate in this year's parade."

DNAinfo New York reports that the Stonewall Inn, the iconic spot where the gay rights movement started, initially said Monday they will not sell Guinness in order to protest the beer company's involvement with the parade. Now that Guinness is out of the parade, the popular dark stout is back on the taps at Stonewall in time for St. Patrick's Day.

CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD, which has urged other sponsors of the parade to pull support, lauded Guinness in a statement:

"Today, Guinness sent a strong message to its customers and employees: discrimination should never be celebrated. As a gay mom who has fond memories of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade, it saddens me that I can't give those same memories to my own kids because my family isn't welcome. Hopefully, as parade organizers realize that anti-LGBT discrimination is not supported by sponsors, or many Irish New Yorkers, they'll see that families like mine should be part of the celebration."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council both announced they would sit out the parade, which starts at 11 a.m. on Monday, due to the event's anti-LGBT policy. They marched in an LGBT-inclusive event on March 2. Additionally, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh sat out the city's St. Pat's Day Parade Sunday over LGBT rights.