The Boston Beer Co., the brewer of Sam Adams beer, says it won’t participate in Sunday’s South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because of a standoff between the parade’s organizers and activists who want gays to be able to march openly in the popular event.
“We were hopeful an agreement could be reached to allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in this parade. However, given the current status of the negotiations, this may not be possible,” Boston Beer said in a statement issued this morning.
Noting that officials such as Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh have said they won’t march in the parade unless gays can march, the statement said, “We share these sentiments ... and therefore we will not participate in this year’s parade.”
Boston Beer spokeswoman Jessica Paar said, “In the past, we have had a presence, actually walking in the parade,” but didn’t go into any further detail on what the company has done in previous parades.
MassEquality, a statewide gay rights group has been pushing for a group of gay veterans to be allowed in the parade. The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which organizes the parade, has excluded gays for years. This year, the council said gays could march but must refrain from any reference to their sexual orientation. MassEquality rejected that offer.
Boston Beer Co. noted, however, that it would “continue our strong support for the Boston community” and participate in the city’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day breakfast, which will be hosted this year for the first time by a black person, state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry.
“We wish her all the best in her historic stewardship of this tradition,” said the statement.
Walsh said Thursday he would would make one more attempt to resolve the impasse between organizers and activists.
“I am going to make one more pitch at it, and we’ll see what happens,” he said Thursday.