Guinness Withdraws St. Patrick's Day Parade Sponsorship

The parade has increasingly come under fire from the gay and lesbian community

The makers of Guinness, the popular Irish beer, announced Sunday that they have withdrawn sponsorship of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade, citing the event's "policy of exclusion."

The parade has increasingly come under fire from the gay and lesbian community for not allowing members of the LGBT community to identify as gay, though they are allowed to march.

"We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade," the company said in a statement. "As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation."

Guinness' move to withdraw sponsorship followed an earlier announcement Sunday that Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn had intended to stop stocking the beer because of its support for the parade.

GLAAD, the LGBT advocacy organization, applauded Guinness' decision. 

"Today, Guinness sent a strong message to its customers and employees: discrimination should never be celebrated," GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement Sunday.

Mayor de Blasio is boycotting the parade because of its policies.

Boston's Mayor Martin Walsh opted out of his city's parade on Sunday after talks broke down that would have allowed a gay veterans group to march. Parade organizers said they did not want the event to turn into a demonstration for a particular group, but Walsh said their plans prevented all Boston residents from participating fully.

Other beer companies joined the boycotts prior to Guinness, with Sam Adams withdrawing its sponsorship of Boston's parade and Heineken announcing the same last week in New York.

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