Heineken, Sam Adams Withdraw Support From St. Patrick’s Day Parades Over LGBT Discrimination

Heineken st. patrick's dayHeineken has announced it is dropping its sponsorship of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which prohibits LGBT groups from participating. The beermaker joins Sam Adams, which on Friday withdrew its support from the St. Patrick’s parade in Boston.

“A company’s values should be reflected in the events it sponsors,” said GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis. “By ending support of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Heineken sent the right message to LGBT youth, customers and employees, who simply want to be part of the celebration. Other sponsors who support LGBT families should be quick to follow.”

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch had attempted to broker a compromise that would have allowed MassEquality, an LGBT organization, to march in the city’s parade, but negotiations broke down. “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., which produces Sam Adams, 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.”

While LGBT individuals are welcome to participate in either event, both parades ban groups from carrying banners or signs identifying themselves as gay. Both Mayor Walsh and New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio have declined to participate in their city’s parade because of the climate of discrimination.