St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers’ today had no luck of the Irish. The popular Irish beer Guinness announced over the weekend that they pulled their sponsorship of the annual St. Patty’s Day Parade in Manhattan.
Guinness, who has a history of supporting diversity and equality, could not be part of a parade that prohibits LGBT families and organizations from marching proudly. In a statement released today, the beer company said that they were hopeful that the parade organizers’ would remove the ban of openly gay and lesbian participants, but ultimately that had to retract their patronage.
“Today, Guinness sent a strong message to its customers and employees: discrimination should never be celebrated,” said GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “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.”
Heineken and Sam Adams beer companies also removed its sponsorship, and New York City LGBT advocate major Bill de Blasio made history by being the first mayor in decades not marching in the parade.
“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,” Ellis said.
The parade is still expected to draw about 1 million spectators and 200,000 participants to the annual Irish tradition.