Boston Beer, the makers of the popular Sam Adams brand, have reportedly pulled their support from the Boston St. Patrick's Parade following the event's long-standing ban on the participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups.
The company issued a statement through MassEquality, the organization pushing for the inclusion of gay veteran groups in the parade, on March 14. A portion of the statement tells consumers that Boston Beer previously remained 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.”
MassEquality officials confirmed the news on Twitter:
— MassEquality (@massequality) March 14, 2014
The statement in full can be read below.
We have been participating in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade for nearly a decade and have also supported the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast year after year. We’ve done so because of the rich history of the event and to support veterans who have done so much for this country. 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. We will continue to support Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and her St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. We wish her all the best in her historic stewardship of this tradition.
The announcement follows claims that gay bars and eateries in the Boston area were boycotting the beer due to the company's support of the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. One notable restaurant, Club Cafe, previously published an open letter on the businesses' Facebook stating 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."
St. Patrick's Day festivities have a long-standing history of LGBT exclusion, leading New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh to threaten boycotts of the parades in their respective cities. It appeared that this move may entice the Allied War Veterans Council, which sponsors the event, to allow queer veterans to participate in the event. However, a gay veterans' group announced Thursday that they would not be marching in the Boston parade due to failed efforts to negotiate with parade organizers.
Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade is slated to take place on Sunday, March 16.