St Patricks Parade Continues to Lose Sponsors in 11th Hour

From  AP – New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio was to become the first mayor in decades to sit out the city’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade over a dispute involving whether march participants can carry pro-gay signs. But Ireland’s Prime Minister refused to be sidelined, saying he’ll join the procession in Manhattan because the holiday is about Irishness, not sexuality.

 

New York’s Irish, their descendants and the Irish for a day will revel in the celebration of culture on Monday, but de Blasio’s decision to skip the parade underscores lingering political tensions over gay rights issues in the Northeast.

Boston’s Mayor Martin Walsh also opted out of his city’s parade on Sunday after talks broke down that would have allowed a gay group to march.

Parade organizers in New York have said gay groups are not prohibited from marching, but are not allowed to carry gay-friendly signs or identify themselves as LGBT.

Some LGBT groups were to protest the parade along the parade route on Fifth Avenue on Monday. Others had planned to dump Guinness beer from the shelves of the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement, in protest of the brewer’s plan to sponsor the parade, but that demonstration was canceled late Sunday after Guinness said in a statement that it had dropped its sponsorship.

Other beer companies joined the boycotts earlier, with Sam Adams withdrawing its sponsorship of Boston’s parade and Heineken following suit in New York.

“Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all,” the company said in a statement posted on the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation website Sunday. “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 As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation.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.”

ABC LOCAL

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