Although St. Patrick’s Day may be known as the most drunken holiday of the year, organizers of St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Boston and New York City have lost favor with the beer companies that normally sponsor them.
It all started when Mass Equality, a group representing gay veterans, applied to have a float in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Parade organizers at first accepted Mass Equality’s application, but then rescinded the offer. After public outcry, organizers said that Mass Equality could march in the parade but could not display any pro-LGBT signs.
In protest of the parade organizers’ decision, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh did not participate in his city’s parade on Sunday. And on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with the city council, did not join the St. Patrick’s parade.
Gay-friendly bars in Boston and New York City called on beer companies to boycott the St. Patrick’s Day parades with them. Sam Adams — a longtime parade sponsor — complied, dropping its sponsorship of the Boston and New York City parades. Then, Heineken dropped its support for the New York parade. “We believe in equality for all. We are no longer a sponsor of Monday’s parade.” a Heineken spokesman told CNBC on Friday.
Guinness soon followed suit, announcing it would withdraw its support for the New York Parade as well: “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 As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation.”
In retaliation, Boston’s Cornerstone Pub stopped selling Sam Adams beer, saying it was disrespectful to veterans. Tom Flaherty, who owns the pub, is a Vietnam veteran. Flaherty told My Fox Boston that he isn’t opposed to the gay-rights issue but felt Sam Adams disrespected his fellow veterans by pulling its monetary support.
The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which organized the Boston parade, said it doesn’t oppose LGBT groups participating in the event, but doesn’t allow open references to sexual orientation. “We invite all to join us to celebrate this historic event, but we must maintain our guidelines to ensure the enjoyment and public safety of our spectators,” the group said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers have clashed with LGBT groups, but it is the first time the parades have suffered such a major loss of political and corporate support as a result.
Despite the mayors’ decision to not attend the parades, scores of city residents still turned out to show their Irish (or at least faux-Irish) spirit. “Although I disagree with the decision of the organizers not to invite the gay veterans, it didn’t keep me away from the parade, and it won’t in the future,” Aaron Goldstein wrote in the American Spectator.
For the beer companies that dropped out of the parades, this is a win-win: Whatever public visibility they may have lost has been made up for by the national media attention they’ve received. And while it may cost them in St. Patrick’s Day sales, Guinness, Sam Adams, and Heineken may have a new, loyal customer base for years to come.
What We're Following See More »
Two weeks after a massive stroke, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president and prime minister of Israel Shimon Peres passed away late Tuesday night. In a political, military, and diplomatic career that lasted nearly 70 years, Peres was influential both in building up the formidable strength of the Israeli military and in seeking to negotiate lasting peace with Israel's many neighboring Arab countries. Within hours of the announcement of his death, both condolences and tributes began pouring in, including from former President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"Democrats panicked by third-party candidates drawing support away from Hillary Clinton are ramping up their attacks against Gary Johnson and warning that a vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump. Liberal groups are passing around embarrassing videos of Johnson and running ads against him warning about his positions on issues like climate change that are important to young voters and independents."
Russo-Western relations are getting thornier all the time. "Dutch-led criminal investigators said Wednesday they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia. Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police, said communications intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon, and reported its arrival in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine." Russia, of course, is denying culpability.
In its roughly 125-year history, the Arizona Republic has never endorsed a Democratic candidate for president. Until now. "The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified," the editors write, as they throw their support to Hillary Clinton.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have reached a deal which is likely to avert a government shutdown. The biggest impediment had been the GOP's refusal to include funding for Flint water system reconstruction in the continuing resolution, and this solution provides an alternative measure likely to appease both sides. The funding for Flint will be included in the Water Resources and Development Act as an amendment to the version passed by the House of Representatives, one which will be passed in the senate. It now appears likely that Congress will in fact be able to keep the government open.