Stonewall Inn bans Anheuser Busch beer for Pride weekend to protest anti-LGBTQ donations

Story Highlights

  • The Stonewall Inn is calling on Anheuser Busch to support the Equality Act.
  • In 2021 legislative sessions, 337 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced; 115 of those target trans youths.
  • The Stonewall uprising helped launch Pride.

The Stonewall Inn, New York City’s landmark LGBTQ bar, will not serve beer from Anheuser Busch during NYC Pride this weekend – its busiest days of the year – to protest the company’s donations to legislators whose bills discriminate against transgender youths.

Co-owners Stacy Lentz and Kurt Kelly announced the ban Friday in support of the #KeepYourPride campaign by the Corporate Accountability action network. The campaign aims to expose companies the network says masquerade as LGBTQ allies for their contributions to politicians with agendas that #KeepYourPride identifies as harmful to the LGBTQ community.

From 2015 to 2021, five companies, including Anheuser Busch, contributed a combined $324,250 to 231 anti-LGBTQ legislators, according to the National Institute of Money in Politics database. 

Anheuser-Busch has donated $35,350 to 29 politicians who have backed anti-LGBTQ legislation, #KeepYourPride says.

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“When we heard that Anheuser Busch gave tens of thousands to lawmakers behind legislation targeting trans people we were horrified,” Lentz told USA TODAY. “How can a company claim to support our community in one breath and then support people who attack us in another?” 

People march in the street near the Stonewall Inn on July 16, 2020, in New York City. (Photo: Stephanie Keith, Getty Images)

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Anheuser Busch said in a statement that the company and its brands “are focused on making a positive and lasting impact when it comes to issues of equality.” The company also said it contributes to “candidates that support the beer industry and the millions of jobs that it creates.”

The Stonewall Inn has been a landmark for the LGBTQ rights movement for more than 50 years. In the 1960s, it served as a sanctuary for gays, lesbians, and drag queens but was subject to regular police raids and harassment. On June 28, 1969, one such raid on the Stonewall resulted in violent clashes between the police and patrons, which lasted for five days and grew to around 400 people. The event inspired resistance and solidarity among LGBTQ groups and ushered in the Pride movement. 

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Today’s resistance with the Anheuser Busch boycott comes amid a blitz of discriminatory legislation in statehouses: 337 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in legislative sessions across the nation in 2021, according to the Equality Federation and the Movement Advancement Project, which tracks state laws. Among these, 75 bills would block transgender youths’ participation in sports, and 40 bills would deny youths gender-affirming medical care.

To mitigate these bills, the Stonewall Inn is calling on Anheuser Busch to promote the passage of the Equality Act, a bill that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include federal protections against gender and sexuality-based discrimination. 

“Corporations have the power to lobby for the equality act and can be great resources to the community and our fight for equality, but they also need to be held accountable and not just pop up duringJune or virtual signal on social media with a rainbow logo,” Lentz said.

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