The Sheraton hasn't seen this much action since Lady Gaga took over the Sheraton On The Park in Sydney last year. And even then, it was more about her choice of hotel than anything she actually did there. The Sheraton New York received a different kind of publicity yesterday, as gay marriage advocates protested Obama's appearance at a highly-anticipated LGBT fundraiser inside the hotel. If you were staying there last night, we hope you at least got an upgrade. Or free Justin Bieber tickets. Or something.
Amid the camera crews, barricades, and hand-written rainbow-colored placards, protesters lined up outside the hotel and chanted, "I am somebody, I demand full equality." It was impossible to miss them. The generic midtown location was probably chosen intentionally against more public downtown spots that would have generated far more scandal—though we think the Four Points by Sheraton Chelsea would have been a great choice. Check out a video of the protesters below.
There's a good chance we'll end up looking back on the president's Sheraton address as something of a historic moment, since the state of New York is currently voting on a bill that would allow same-sex marriage—the process could even be over as soon as tonight. If that's the case, then Obama's words—not to mention the previously unremarkable Sheraton—will hold extra significance in the minds of anxious LGBT community members hoping to "write another chapter" in the nation's history. Despite interruptions by the vocal protesters, Obama managed to get out these words:
"Discrimination because of somebody’s sexual orientation or gender identity ran counter to who we are as a people, and it’s a violation of the basic tenets on which this nation was founded. I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country."