Bisma Zaman, Blog Entry #5

Guinness boycotts St. Patrick’s Day parade over gay exclusion: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/guinness-boycotts-st-patricks-day-parade   

      While Saint Patrick’s Day is recognized and celebrated world-wide, a major trademark of this holiday is the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. It is centered around the idea of people coming together, marching, and celebrating their heritage, yet this year it has become more complicated than that. The organizers of the parade have made it a rule that gay and lesbian groups are not to identify themselves as gay while marching, which has aroused an immense amount of controversy. 

       A previously leading supporter and producer of beer for the parade, Guinness, has dropped its sponsorship of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade due to the exclusion of gay and lesbian groups. The company stated, “Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. 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 As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation”. Similarly New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did not participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade over the policy to ban marchers who carry gay-pride signs. He said, “I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade”. 

     Guinness helped make a statement about equal rights for all. Their withdrawal from the parade put into perspective the changes occurring in society. It also helped to shine light on the situation and unite other members against the exclusion of lgbt groups. New York’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, also contributed by placing this issue on a political scale. The article states, “More than 45 city councilors, state legislators who represent Boston, statewide elected officials, U.S. representatives and senators, and gubernatorial hopefuls will not be participating on Sunday.” I believe that as leaders of our country and specifically their own states it is essential that they uphold and protect the interests of all people. As granted by the First Amendment, all people, including lgbt members should have the freedom of speech and their civil liberties should be protected. While exclusion and discrimination still occurs it is important to look at founding principles to make decisions and judgments about the future of our society. 

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