Sam Adams Pulls Out of Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade Over Gay Exclusion

The brewing company said that it still planned to participate in Boston’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day breakfast

By Cathy Rainone and NECN
|  Friday, Mar 14, 2014  |  Updated 2:10 PM EDT
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The Boston Beer Company, which produces Samuel Adams, said it was bowing out as sponsor of South Boston’s St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday because of the parade’s exclusion of gays.

“We were hopeful an agreement could be reached to allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in this parade,” the company said in a statement on Friday. “However, given the current status of the negotiations, this may not be possible.”

The parade’s organizers, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, have excluded gays from the parade for years. MassEquality, a statewide gay rights group, has been lobbying for a group of gay veterans to be allowed to march. Parade organizers said this year that gays could march but not openly, an offer that MassEquality turned down.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch, and other community leaders earlier said they would not march in his year’s parade unless gays could participate too.

“We share these sentiments,” the Boston Beer company said in its statement announcing it had pulled its participation in the parade in the wake of the controversy.

The brewing company said that it still planned to participate in Boston’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forryhosted, who is Haitian-American, will host the breakfast. She will become the first non Irish-American host of the event, according to the Boston Globe.

Boston Beer’s decision comes a day after a Boston restaurant, Club Café, yanked Sam Adams from their menu over the issue.

Club Café said in an open letter on its Facebook page that they were "disappointed that Sam Adams does not understand that the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade continue to demonstrate that they do not respect LGBT Irish Americans by excluding LGBT members of this community from openly marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade."

The restaurant said Friday it would start serving Sam Adams again.

“They have acted responsibly,” Frank Ribaudo of Club Café Boston told NECN. “I don’t think it’s right for any group to be discriminated against by any other group and I say kudos to Boston Beer Company for coming to the realization that their sponsorship of the parade was the wrong thing to do.”

In New York City, activists have also called for gays to be allowed to participate openly in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Among the prominent local politicians boycotting the parade down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue is new Mayor Bill de Blasio. He is believed to be the city’s first mayor to have boycotted the event.

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