Following Sam Adams’ lead in Boston, both Guinness and Heineken beer companies have pulled their sponsorship of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade because the parade prohibits letting LGBT people march openly. A Heineken spokesperson explained simply, “We believe in equality for all.”
Guinness’ statement followed an announcement that the historic Stonewall Inn would drop the beer from its shelves if it stood by its sponsorship of the parade. Here was how the company explained its decision:
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 As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation.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.
The Stonewall Inn has since stated that it looks forward to continuing to serve Guinness.
One corporate sponsor of the parade, the Ford Motor Company, is standing by its financial support:
Ford Motor Company is involved in a wide range of events and organizations in communities across the country and around the world, including long-standing participation in this parade. No one person, group or event reflects Ford’s views on every issue. What we can tell you is that Ford is proud of its inclusive policies. Every member of the Ford team is valued, and we provide employee benefits regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
The St. Patrick’s Day parades in both New York City and Boston have a legacy of anti-gay discrimination. Because attempts to negotiate inclusion this year failed, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) announced that he would boycott his city’s parade. In New York, both Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and the entire City Council announced they would also be boycotting the parade.