With two days to the event, another high-profile guest is boycotting the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade due to its anti-gay policies.
The Boston Beer Company, the main sponsor of the parade, announced Friday it is pulling its sponsorship after parade organizers repeatedly refused to allow LGBTQ groups to identify themselves as such while marching. (Via Boston.com)
The company, which brews Samuel Adams, said in a statement: "We were hopeful an agreement could be reached. ... However, given the current status of the negotiations, this may not be possible."
The announcement comes after the maker of Sam Adams began getting flak for its sponsorship, even leading to Club Café, an area gay bar, pulling the beer from its taps. The owner, Frank Ribaudo, scolded the company for its parade partnership.
"I was in the Navy, I fought in Vietnam, I've lots of friends who've been in the military that have fought for this country, and for us to be treated like second-class citizens ... " (Via NECN)
It's all a culmination of clashes between parade organizers South Boston Allied War Veterans Council and equality group MassEquality, which have made headlines in the past few weeks.
The council originally lifted the 20-year ban on participation by gay rights groups after prodding by MassEquality and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. One organizer told the Los Angeles Times MassEquality members would be allowed to march "with a 'Happy St. Patrick's Day' sign. That's it. It's a day of celebration, not demonstration." But MassEquality was unsatisfied, joining a boycott of the parade by Walsh and Rep. Stephen Lynch, one of the state's House members. (Via WHDH)
Despite the criticism, the South Boston Parade's website defended its decision, posting a press release saying: "We will not allow anyone to express harmful or inappropriate messages. This was a decision we made for the good of this parade." (Via Southbostonparade.org)
It's not the first dust-up for the embattled 2014 parade. In September, city officials quarreled over hosting duties of the event's annual morning breakfast, before choosing Haitian-American State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry. She'll be the first-ever non-Irishman to host the meal. (Via The Boston Globe, State of Massachusetts)
And even after pulling its sponsorship, the Boston Beer Company still plans to participate in the breakfast Sunday morning.