****UPDATE: Raw Story has received an update from Seth Adam, Senior Manager of Communications, GLAAD explaining that Guinness has agreed to pull their sponsorship:
Guinness just announced that the beer company will drop its sponsorship of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade due to the parade’s discriminatory rule that prohibits LGBT families and organizations from participating. Full statement from Guinness below.
Please note that the previously scheduled event at Stonewall Inn, scheduled to take place on 3/17 at 1pm ET, has been canceled in light of this news.
“Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.”
GLAAD, the nation’s foremost LGBT media advocacy organization, announced today that the historic Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the LGBT equality movement, will refuse to carry Guinness beer due to the company’s refusal to drop their sponsorship of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
New York City’s parade, the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the country, prohibits LGBT families and organizations from participating.
“The ban on gay and lesbian people marching openly forces me, as a proud Irish New Yorker, to look my five year-old twins in the eye and tell them that the parade organizers don’t think our family is good enough to join in the celebration,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
The Stonewall Inn’s decision to drop the beer is significant as the popular tavern was the site of the legendary 1969 ‘Stonewall riot” where patrons of the bar fought back against the constant police harassment of the LGBT community.
“By supporting the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Guinness is telling its LGBT customers and employees that it supports the parade’s discriminatory ban,” Ellis said. “It’s time for Guinness, other sponsors and Irish New Yorkers to speak out in favor of an inclusive parade that welcomes the Irish spirit of love and family.”
GLAAD reached out to several sponsors last week asking them to drop their sponsorship with the parade.
Heineken beer agreed to drop out saying the company is “passionate about equality for all people.”
Sam Adams beer also dropped their sponsorship of the N.Y.C. parade as well as the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Guinness has not responded to email requests from GLAAD comment.
The Ford Motor Company has also decided to stand by their sponsorship of the New York City parade.
[Stout beer on Shutterstock]