- It's not just the scores of 30-somethings who revert to their frat-boy days and fill the streets with their drunken antics on March 17 that have led some in the gay community to call St. Patrick's Day the straight holiday. For a long time running, parades across the country celebrating Ireland's patron saint—including the New York City and Boston's—have refused to allow LGBT groups to join in the festivities.
- In Boston, things looks like they might have been different this year. After weeks of tense negotiations, it appeared MassEquality, a gay-rights group, would be able to send a delegation of 20 gay veterans to the Boston parade ...
- ... until the South Boston Allied War Veterans' Council, the sponsor of the event, specified that the participants could not let on in any way that they were gay. "It is our intention to keep this parade a family friendly event," the organizers said. "We will not allow any group to damage the integrity of the historic event—or our reputation as a safe and fun filled day for all." We get the message: gays, not safe and not fun.
- Gay veterans, unsurprisingly, didn't jump at the chance to return to their "don't ask, don't tell" days. "The parade is every bit as exclusionary this year as it was 20 years ago," said Kara Coredini, executive director of MassEquality.
- Putting some oomph behind the pushback, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, whose parents were Irish immigrants, announced he would boycott the parade, saying, "I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city ... Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible."
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also skipped the festivities, though he hosted a St. Patrick's Day breakfast at Gracie Mansion and attended mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral to celebrate.
- Perhaps most devastating to the libation-fueled revelry, the producers of Guinness, San Adams, and Heineken have also dropped their sponsorship. "Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all," the company said. "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 As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation."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 turn, right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch has called on the entire nation of Ireland to boycott Guinness beer.
- The exclusion leaves at least one St. Patty's Day tradition going strong: Protesters lined the streets of the parade in New York City. Over the weekend in Boston, LGBT activists even crashed the event with their own "diversity float."
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