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Bill Marriott Speaks About Proposition 8

November 12, 2008 at 10:17 AM | by | ()

Most people know that Bill Marriott is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (as is the rest of the Marriott fam).

In light of California's passing of Proposition 8, which eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry in California, Bill Marriott felt compelled to make sure nobody concluded that Marriott's affiliation with the Mormon church — a huge proponent of the Prop 8 — was a reflection of his (or his company's) stance on the issue.

He made an official statement on his blog:

For more than 80 years, our company has grown and changed, but that basic principle still holds up. We embrace all people as our customers, associates, owners and franchisees regardless of race, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Our principle is backed up with a formal diversity program, which we established more than 20 years ago. Our Board of Directors has also focused on this priority and helped us be a leader and a better company. We were among the first in our industry to offer domestic partner benefits, and we've earned a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for two years in a row. Many of our hotels have hosted LGBT community functions and events for years.

He's pretty careful not to say what his personal beliefs are on the matter, but he does explicitly say "neither I, nor the company, contributed to the campaign to pass Proposition 8" — which, frankly, is all we need to know.

It makes us sad that people might be pointing fingers at our Billy just because of his religious affiliation, but this blog post was definitely a good move.

[Photo: rebilasphoto]

Archived Comments:

Proposition 8

sounds like pandering to me. the only statement Bill Marriott can make with any validity is to resign from the Mormon  Church to prove he does not condone their bigotry. Until then my money will never go to a Marriott hotel.

That's not fair

In response to Wripro, I don't think that just being associated with the Mormon church should be grounds for being totally written off by the entire gay community. This blog post was a very brave and affirmative step that pretty clearly conveys support for the community, as well as the many GLBT employees who rely on the company for their paychecks.

Marriott "lying for the Lord"


Marriott Hotels are notoriously unfriendly to gay and lesbian employees. They are currently being investigated for discrimination by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD; Commissioner Thomas-George) for anti-gay and anti-Indian discrimination. Marriott is lowest scoring hotel company on the HRC scale, they get 70 while Starwood (Westin, W, Sheraton) gets 100.

According to Mormon "prophet" Brigham Young, it is actually permissible for Mormons to lie to non-Mormons or 'gentiles' as they call you, yes you: "Lying for the Lord" is the theological term. Bill Marriott is lying, scared to lose gay business. He's a bigot and his son Dave Marriott is even worse, call the MCAD and ask to see the documents.

A differing view

I completely understand and appreciate your point, and only wanted to offer a few points by way of a friendly dialog. I wanted to make you aware of several key points about Marriott - a company I've worked for for over ten years. I am a concierge at the Marriott Marquis in NYC and am gay. Marriott is actually (as a company) quite progressive on lgbt issues. Our hotel has recently begun offering a special romance package for our community and advertising it in Out magazine. We plan on having a hotel float in this year's gay pride parade.
And most importantly (to me at least) my partner of 7 years, Michael, gets the same high quality health insurance that I receive - at no cost to either of us - as part of Marriott's domestic partner coverage (I DO HOWEVER pay about $4,000 a year in taxes on my partner's coverage because our government doesn't see my relationship as a legal enitity). I wear a combo American and rainbow flag pin at work and don't feel conflicted about it.
I want full marriage rights and equality as much as anyone. I also think what the Mormon church did in California was abhorrent. I can say from the 'inside' however, there is a disconnect between the religion of the founder and his corporation. People will have to make up their own minds about this, of course, I just wanted to add a bit to the discussion.
- Mark Thompson nymarriott@gmail.com

positive opinion from a past gay employee

I spent 10 years working for Marriott International, heck I even 'Came Out' while working there.  From all the different hotels, to the corporate headquarters, and I always found it a very safe and accepting place to work.  So much so that the only trouble I had when coming out, were from other gay coworkers.  

After coming out, people were very supportive, and it opened whole new avenues for me while I was there.  Mr. Marriott always great all of his employees the same, with a smile and a warm handshake.  The Marriott philosophy of 'We take care of the employees, they take care of the guests, and the guests take care of the money', has always been inclusive.  

Of course it was helpful that we joked you couldn't swing a dead cat, without hitting a fellow gay, no matter where you went in the company.  Heck, if I didn't have such a strong desire to come home to San Diego, I'd still be working there.

If you feel you've got to watch out for someone, I recommend Doug Manchester, and the Hyatt hotels.

That's awesome

Thanks to FredW and MarkieNYC for sharing their experiences. And props to Bill Marriott to writing this blog post, which is definitely NOT pandering. Let's revisit this sentence:

We were among the first in our industry to offer domestic partner benefits, and we've earned a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for two years in a row. Many of our hotels have hosted LGBT community functions and events for years.

So Good to Know

My partner is going on an interview tomorrow...I realize this is an older post, but wanted everyone to know it was very important for us to know if the company offered same sex partner benefits before she would go to the interview and accept a position with the company.  We both feel very good about this opportunity and now we are hoping and praying that she gets the job.  Yes we are gay and christians too!