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Heineken Pulls Sponsorship of NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade

By Jess Wisloski | March 15, 2014 1:12pm
 A child holds up a rainbow flag at the St. Pat's for All Parade in Sunnyside on March 2, 2014.
A child holds up a rainbow flag at the St. Pat's for All Parade in Sunnyside on March 2, 2014.
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DNAinfo/Tom Liddy

NEW YORK CITY — In an statement released Friday, Heineken announced it has become the second beer company to drop sponsorship of a Saint Patrick's Day Parade because of the parade's refusal to allow LGBT families and organizations to openly march.

"We believe in equality for all. We are no longer a sponsor of Monday's parade," the Heineken statement said, according to CNBC.

"We are passionate about equality for all people," an official confirmed to LGBT rights organization GLAAD.

The move came after Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams, dropped sponsorship of the Boston Saint Patrick's Day Parade, which was announced Friday.

Boston Beer's move came after press coverage erupted following a popular bar owner's public letter saying he would not carry Boston Beer products any longer until the company stopped sponsoring the parade, or the parade's organizers allowed openly LGBT groups to march.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to boycott Monday's parade, which starts at 11 a.m. and moves up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street. Instead he marched in the "St. Pat's for All" parade in Queens on March 2.

A number of New Yorkers too are in favor of inclusion. On Saturday afternoon, patrons at Mug's Ale House, a pub on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, were wholeheartedly in support of Heineken's announcement.

"I never much liked Heineken anyway, but I really like the fact that they've withdrawn support," said Jimmy Tillman, 67, a Washington Heights resident, who is of Irish descent. "Irish people are gay too, you know, and they like drinking beer as well."

David Heyer,44, who was visiting from the Netherlands, the country that produces Heineken, said "I'm deeply ashamed that they were supporting it to begin with. Come on, it is 2014, and this is America."

New York City and Boston's bans on openly gay participants are in contrast to a Chicago tradition that has welcomed LGBT advocates since the 1990s, according to Time magazine.

"Our city realized a long time ago that we have so much more in common than apart," Tom Tunney, Chicago’s first openly gay alderman, told the magazine. "We’re a city of cultures, and the LGBT community is a part of it."

The New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade website did not load Saturday and contact information on organizers was unavailable.