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Guinness, others draw ire of Catholic group for parade boycott over LGBT rights

Revelers march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Monday in New York City. Political controversy surrounded this year's parade, as Mayor Bill De Blasio decided not to march due to the parade organizer's policy to ban participants who identify as LGBT.
Revelers march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Monday in New York City. Political controversy surrounded this year's parade, as Mayor Bill De Blasio decided not to march due to the parade organizer's policy to ban participants who identify as LGBT.Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

After Guinness, Sam Adams and Heineken pulled support from St. Patrick’s Day parades last weekend in New York and Boston as a protest over LGBT rights, one group is calling upon Roman Catholics to boycott the beers, according to a report today from Newser.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, told Al Jazeera America that he believes the three popular beer companies squandered the “constitutional rights of Catholics” by removing its sponsorships from the parades and that LGBT groups had enacted a “bullying campaign” to pressure the companies to drop their support.

“These (LGBT) groups don’t care for the constitutional rights of Catholics,” Donohue said.

The companies pulled sponsorships when parade organizers refused marchers to carry banners that identify them as a member of the LGBT community.

Donohue’s group will specifically focus its efforts on boycotting Guinness, while he says other Catholic groups will take up the boycott on Heineken and Sam Adams.

“I have the time and money. We're going to punish Guinness for what they've done," Donohue said.

"Our intent is to always act in a non-discriminatory way,” a Heineken representative told the news source. “When we come across something that contradicts this, we take action. For that reason, we didn’t sponsor the NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade."

A representative for the Boston Beer Co., which makes Sam Adams, said they had sponsored the Boston parade for many years in support of the “veterans who have done so much for this country,” but said the brewer couldn’t in good conscience participate in this year’s march in the name of gay rights.

“We were hopeful that both sides of this issue would be able to come to an agreement that would allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in the parade,” the representative said regarding talks between gay rights groups and parade organizers. “But given the current status of the negotiations, we realize this may not be possible.”

You can read that full Examiner report by clicking here.