Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewery in the world has just announced it may pull out of Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade after finding out a gay veterans group had been excluded.
According to reports, South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, an agency involved in organizing the parade has banned OUTVETS, a group of U.S. veterans which honors the LGBTQ community:
A spokesperson for the company said in a statement:
"We value equality and believe diversity enriches our workforce and our world. [...] We are disappointed to learn that the OUTVETS, who have proudly served this country, have been denied entry to the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”
Anheuser-Busch initially had plans to feature its signature Budweiser Clydesdales in the parade. However, it doesn't look like they will make an appearance.
The brewing company announced its possible decision Wednesday, following the lead of a number of other companies and individuals who are boycotting the parade.
The grocery chain Stop & Shop has withdrawn its participation, and the parade marshal, Army veteran Dan Magoon of Dorchester, resigned from his position.
Others boycotting include: Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Edward Markey, along with two congressmen.
Even Boston Mayer Marty Walsh has said he will not participate in the parade if OUTVETS is excluded:
During an interview with NBC Boston, Walsh said:
“I will not tolerate discrimination in our city in any form. We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city. I will not be marching in the parade unless this is resolved. Anyone who values what our city stands for should do the same.”
In light of the backlash, the organization is holding an emergency meeting Friday afternoon. The group will allegedly reconsider the inclusion of OUTVETS.
OUTVETS claims it was never given a clear reason for the ban:
OUTVETS director Bryan Bishop said:
“It’s because we’re an LGBT organization. They didn’t want us in the first place.”
“No matter what they say, they are discriminating against veterans. End of story.”
Anheuser-Busch isn't the first beer company to stand up for LGBTQ equality.
In 2014, Boston's own Samuel Adams removed itself from the parade after organizers neglected to include representatives of the LGBTQ community, according to Forbes.