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Bar boycotts Sam Adams over dropped parade sponsorship

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he’s still hoping that he and openly gay people will be able to march in South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade even as the controversy over Sunday’s march intensifies.

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South End restaurant Club Café had announced it wouldn’t serve brews from Boston Beer Company – which manufactures Sam Adams – until the company said on Friday that it would pull sponsorship from the parade, which does not allow marchers to openly identify as gay.

Now a Southie bar is boycotting Sam Adams because they’re unhappy with the company’s decision to drop its parade sponsorship.

“They’re fired, as far as I’m concerned,” said Tommy Flaherty, Jr., the co-owner of the Cornerstone Pub. “If they’re not going to support the veterans, and they’re not going to support South Boston, well, they can sell their beer elsewhere.”

Flaherty said he thought it was disingenuous of the Boston Beer Company to pull its sponsorship so late.

“If some silly issue is going to get them to pull support from our neighborhood, I don’t see us doing business with them again,” he said.

The Boston Beer Company said in a statement that it is disappointed that an agreement could not be reached between the gay rights advocacy group MassEquality and parade organizers that would have allowed a group of gay veterans to march.

Walsh, who said he will march if an agreement is reached, told NewsCenter5 on Saturday that the Boston Beer Company’s stand was “courageous.”

“I commend Sam Adams,” Walsh said. “It’s a courageous stand, because they have a lot of business.”

A 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council could include or exclude whichever groups it wanted. The parade, one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation, draws as many as 1 million spectators to South Boston.

MassEquality said in a statement Saturday that the group hopes to march while flying a rainbow flag and a banner identifying marchers as LGBT.

“We appreciate that the Mayor is committed to marching only if the LGBT community can march openly, and that he is still fighting for that,” the group said. “We hope that is the case tomorrow.”

Walsh said that even if an agreement cannot be reached between parade organizers and LGBT groups, he believes progress has been made.

“I think this year there has been a lot of steps toward that, toward the full inclusion,” he said. “It’s a question of fairness and I can’t understand why in 2014 we’re still having this discussion, this debate.”


Gays exclusion led to Boston Beer Company decision

BOSTON — After its support of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade led one Boston restaurant to boycott its brew, the Boston Beer Company – which manufactures Sam Adams – has pulled its sponsorship from Sunday’s parade.

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Club Café, in the South End, had announced it would not serve the company’s beer because of the ongoing controversy over the exclusion of openly gay individuals from marching in the parade.

“This is about equal rights. Everyone is equal in this country,” said Club Café owner Frank Ribaudo, who said the restaurant got thousands of hits and messages of support on its Facebook page after the boycott was announced.

After the sponsorship was pulled, the restaurant said it will continue to sell Sam Adams.

“As a result of this (decision) we are again proud to serve Sam Adams and Boston Beer Company Products,” Club Café said in a statement on its Facebook page.

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Boston Beer Company said that it is disappointed that an agreement could not be reached between the gay rights advocacy group MassEquality and parade organizers that would have allowed a group of gay veterans to march, despite pressure from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Rep. Stephen Lynch.

“We share these sentiments with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch and others and therefore we will not participate in this year’s parade,” the Boston Beer Company said in a statement.

“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,” the statement read.

“The fact that they reacted as quickly as they did without a lot of additional pressure says a lot about them as a company I think that they realized that this was an issue they need to be sensitive to and I applaud them, I really do,” Ribaudo said.

A 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council could include or exclude whichever groups it wanted.

The parade organizers’ phone was not answered. The parade, one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation, draws as many as 1 million spectators to South Boston


st patricks day 2014

When I was young I only remember going to a few Boston Parades here and there.  The thing I enjoyed most was all the different people and colors that I saw.  I’m almost certain that I wasn’t always aware of the purpose or message that was being given if there was one. The most important thing that was obvious was that everyone enjoyed themselves in some ways. I always thought that parades were meant for all people.  I know the definition of parade is “a public procession, especially one celebrating a day or event and including marching bands and floats.” Its synonyms are processionmarchcavalcademotorcadespectacledisplay,pageant.  No where in its definition do you find words of exclusion of any person or group.  As for St. Patrick’s Day itself, while it is said to be “a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March which is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland.” We know that not only people in the Catholic faith celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. A great deal of interracial marriages have occurred over the years. Therefore resulting in a number of various religions celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.  This also means that some of those celebrating the day may not be heterosexuals. You don’t see those celebrating Gay Pride day saying that only gay people can take part in their parade. A parade should be in place allowing all interested parties to take part and attend as long as they don’t mean harm to those taking part in the celebration.

It is a shame that who gets to take part in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is even up for debate, especially when the debate comes from a school or house of faith. We all have our beliefs and are committed to them and no one should or can take that away from us.  However, there are several times and occasions where we should all be able to put aside our feelings and if so needed, our beliefs, so that we ALL have the opportunity to celebrate holiday’s whether by a parade, march, breakfast, dance, day of observation, etc. We essentially all came from the same place, and should deserve the same rights. We were all created equal. This can not be used or said when it is convenient, it has to apply at all times otherwise we are all hypocrites.

If you have pride in who and what you are and what you believe in stand up for that, but not in a way that takes away from someone elses pride or beliefs.  We can all be happy and celebrate together. For more information on how Boston will be celebrating click here.

By Felina Silver Robinson