A decision by Guinness and other major beer companies to drop their sponsorship of today’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because of its organizer’s stance on LGBT participation, has earned the ire of the Catholic League, which is now calling for a boycott of the brands.
“I have had my last Guinness and Sam Adams. Heineken was always slop, so there is no sacrifice there. I urge Catholics, and all those who believe in tolerance, diversity, and the First Amendment, to join with me in boycotting these brews,” the league’s leader, Bill Donahue, said in a statement released this morning.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials are boycotting the Fifth Avenue parade this year because of its controversial policy excluding openly gay groups. A trio of parade sponsors, Guinness, Heineken and Sam Adams, announced over the weekend that they would steer clear as well.
But Mr. Donahue, who has earned headlines in recent weeks by repeatedly criticizing socially liberal policies, said it was the companies that were in the wrong.
“None of these companies believe in diversity,” he charged. “No gay person has ever been barred from marching in any St. Patrick’s Day parade, anymore than the parade bans pro-life Catholics or vegetarian Catholics; they simply cannot march under their own banner. The parade has one cause: honoring St. Patrick. Those who disagree do not have to march—that’s what diversity is all about.”
For its part, Guinness released a statement yesterday saying the company 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 As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation.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,” the company added.