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Boston Beer Company pulls out of St Patrick’s Day parade

Sam Adams brewer cites breakdown in talks to allow gay veterans to participate

The Boston Beer Company has pulled its sponsorship of the St Patrick’s Day parade over organizers’ refusal to allow gay veterans to participate openly. Credit:

The Boston Beer Company says it is pulling out of Boston’s St Patrick’s Day parade because of organizers’ refusal to allow gay veterans to participate in the March 16 event.

MassEquality, a gay rights group that has been pressing for the veterans to be allowed to march, published a statement by the Sam Adams brewer on its website.

“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. We share these sentiments with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch and others and therefore we will not participate in this year’s parade,” the company says.

The Guardian quotes a parade organizer as saying, “Our theme is St Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day. It isn’t a sexually oriented parade. They have parades for that.”

Boston Mayor Martin J Walsh has said he would not march in the parade if parade organizers did not permit the gay community to participate. Walsh’s statement follows that of his New York City counterpart, Bill de Blasio, who plans to skip his city’s St Patrick’s Day parade for the same reason. 

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is reportedly set to march in the New York parade but not Boston’s. He is, however, expected to attend South Boston’s St Patrick’s Day breakfast.