Guinness brewery pulled out of today’s New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade after parade organizers decided to exclude LGBT displays. Guinness announced its decision in a press release late Sunday night.
“Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. 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 As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation.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 said on behalf of its parent company, Diageo.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this week that he would not march in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade because of the controversy. As noted by the New York Times, Bill de Blasio attended the St. Pat’s for All parade, which is organized by gay rights activists, to further show his support.
Friday, Sam Adams brewer Boston Beer Co and Heineken dropped their sponsorship of both the New York City and Boston St. Patrick’s Day parades in solidarity with LGBT concerns. Boston’s Irish-American mayor, Marty Walsh, skipped the Boston parade early Sunday because the conservative Allied War Veteran’s Council would not allow MassEquality to join the Boston parade. Guinness’ decision to stay out of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade followed late Sunday.
CNN reported on the positive response to Guinness’ decision from the LGBT community. “Today, Guinness sent a strong message to its customers and employees; discrimination should never be celebrated,” applauded GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis.
Speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito also showed her support, saying, “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.”
Several LGBT planned protests that were to involve Guinness products have now been cancelled.
The parade organizers are not allowing displays of LGBT pride, which includes flags, shirts, and signs. The Boston and New York parades have faced this same controversy in previous years and parade organizers have stated that allowing LGBT displays would conflict with their Roman Catholic heritage.
Rueters could not reach the New York board of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, who has run the New York parade for over 150 years, for comment Sunday afternoon.