Stonewall Inn Drops Guinness Over Sponsorship of Anti-Gay NYC Parade

GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today announced that the historic Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern LGBT equality movement, will drop Guinness beer from its shelves beginning Monday, March 17 following the beer company’s decision to stand by its sponsorship of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Parade, which is 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.

“By supporting the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Guinness is telling itsay that the site responds to hateful, anti-LGBT comments posted on public pages. In 2011, GLAAD worked with Facebook to add ‘In a domestic partnership’ and ‘In a civ LGBT customers and employees that it supports the parade’s discriminatory ban,” Ellis continued. “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.”

On Friday, after GLAAD reached out to sponsors of the parade, Heineken dropped its sponsorship, saying that the company is “passionate about equality for all people.” Also on Friday, Sam Adams announced that it, too, would drop its sponsorship of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which also bans LGBT people from taking part.

Guinness has not responded to email requests for comment. Ford has also decided to stand by its sponsorship of the New York City parade.

New York City-based organization Irish Queers, a group that has been leading the work to end the ban on LGBT participation in the parade for many years, has expressed dismay at the NYPD’s participation in the parade, noting that “City agencies don’t have ‘free speech right’ to bypass anti-bias rules.” New York City has strict anti-discrimination policies in place that protect LGBT New Yorkers from discrimination by government agencies like the NYPD.

Irish Queers will be holding a press conference during this year’s parade on Monday 3/17 at 10:30am ET (30 minutes before parade), between 56th & 57th Streets on the west side of Fifth Ave.

“The homophobic bigotry of this parade is reaffirmed each year by the organizers,” said JF Mulligan of Irish Queers. “The NYPD’s insistence on sending huge uniformed contingents every year makes it clear that the rights of our communities don’t concern them. Commissioner Bratton hasn’t even acknowledged the community’s outrage. If the NYPD and the City refuses to uphold their own anti-bias rules, how can we trust police officers with our safety?”

GLAAD, Irish Queers, and community advocates will gather at Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street) at 1pm ET on Monday, at which time Guinness products will be removed from the bar. Media are invited to attend.

Other New York City LGBT bars are quickly following suit, vowing to ban Guinness from their shelves. Local favorites including Pieces Bar and Hardware Bar have said they will not carry the beer. GLAAD continues outreach to additional sponsors, as well as New York City-based LGBT bars.

About GLAAD: GLAAD amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.