Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Marriott worried

Seems that the talk of boycotts got someone's attention!

The Facts About Marriott and California's Proposition 8
Posted: November 11, 2008 4:17:19 PM

As many of you may know I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some might conclude given my family's membership in the Mormon Church that our company supported the recent ballot initiative to ban same sex marriage in California. This is simply untrue. Marriott International is a public company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and is not controlled by any one individual or family. Neither I, nor the company, contributed to the campaign to pass Proposition 8.

The Bible that I love teaches me about honesty, integrity and unconditional love for all people. But beyond that, I am very careful about separating my personal faith and beliefs from how we run our business.

I am personally motivated to speak now because Marriott was built on the basic principles of respect and inclusion. My father, who founded this company along with my mother, told everyone who would listen: "Take care of your employees, and they'll take care of your customers, who will come back again and again."

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.

I am very proud of all of our associates at Marriott. And I want all our associates and guests, whom we welcome into our hotels, to know that we embrace your talents and thank you for your many contributions and your business.

I'm Bill Marriott, and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

More here.

h/t to Lisa.


James said...

Neither I, nor the company, contributed to the campaign to pass Proposition 8.

Nor did this company who claims to be so gay friendly donate one red cent to the "no" campaign. I see some duplicity in their press release.

They could have put their money where their mouth is, but they didn't.

I believe that we must move beyond talks of a boycott and actually boycott those who, by their actions, contributed to the passage of eight.

David said...

Well, I dunno James. Could they have done more ? Oh yes...

But if what Marriott says is basically true, it's probably the best we can expect out of him. And at least the company appears to have a good record.

IMHO there's probably a lot more "low hanging fruit" to go after vs. Marriott as a company.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The company has DP benefits and a perfet rating from HRC.

Now, people who run individual marriot hotels, who gave money, nail them.

Bzut the chain overall? I'm not seeing it.

If we're going to boycott, it needs to be clear and targeted to be effective.


James said...

But, IT, the only way to nail them is in their pocket book and that is though the company.

P.S. You can't believe what the word verification for this post it 00 "foekem"

Cany said...

I'm with IT here.

I'm for going for the lower hanging fruit. There are enough people TO go after that supported 8 without including a long list of those that didn't support the no side.

Anonymous said...

I think it is stupid to pursue a company that has an enlightened corporate record and no direct association with this, merely because their founder is Mormon.

That is bias, not action.

If managers of particular companies either cause the company to give, or give themselves, to a campaign like Prop8, then target THAT person or company very specifically.

But given that Marriott is publicly held and has an admirable record AS A FIRM for gay rights, I see no justification for attacking them as a company. What are they supposed to say? THEY DIDN"T DO IT.


Anonymous said...

According to the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted today to join the petition asking the California Supreme Court to find Prop. 8 unconstitutional - Emotional Board of Supervisors backs Prop. 8 challenge.

The vote was 3-0. The three Democrats voted in favor; the two Republicans were absent. This is important in light of the demographics of the vote. One of the Democrats in an African-American woman. Another of the Democrats in a Latina woman.

Leonard said...

I have a dear friend who is a long standing and highranking Marriott executive...near the very top of her division...when I asked her about the ¨Mormon¨ influences (she is Unitarian) she recently reported ¨they are very respectful and NEVER mention religion or politics¨...they meaning the Marriotts (who are around)...I believe her and she´s a very no nonsense type.

Anonymous said...

Mayor-elect of Sacramento Kevin Johnson (the former NBA star) was on The Colbert Report last night. An African-American (duh! *g*), he too opposed Prop 8 (I hope my hometown will also join the lawsuit against H8)


Yay, Connecticut! :-D (SSMs began there today)

Anonymous said...

Here's some news on the challenges to Prop. 8 in the California Supreme Court. This afternoon, the Supreme Court ordered the California Attorney General to file preliminary oppositions to the petitions pending before the court no later than next Monday, Nov. 17.

The Supreme Court has discretion to dismiss these petitions completely without doing anything more. That is extremely common in the California appellate courts. I'm not suprised that in a case of this importance, they didn't dismiss the petitions at this point and asked the Attorney General to file a preliminary brief raising the arguments on the other side (which the Attorney General now must do -- it must make the staff attorneys' heads spin to have to keep flipping back and forth on this issue!).

Under California procedure for writ petitions (which is what we're dealing with here), the parties, either on their own or at the court's invitation, often file a preliminary opposition to help the court's decision about whether it wants to take the case at this point or not. If the court takes the case, the matter then goes to full briefing and oral argument and is procedurally treated about the same as a regular appeal. If the court denies the writ at this point, it is without prejudice to dealing with the issues in the lower courts before it comes back to the Supreme Court.

So there's a bit of a glimmer of hope here. But it's really reading tea leaves at this pont.

it's margaret said...

IT --thank you for this lead and these comments by the Marriotts. I certainly do not want to boycott an endeavor which does not deserve it...

I will do more looking at the situation, but this is what I am thinking--the Marriotts might do just what they have to do to survive in business--which would include a clean bill of health with its employees and take $$ even from groups which they do not support or condone.

And while the company itself might not give any money to such endeavors as Prop 8, he cleanly separates himself from his company. The Marriott family itself is a known major supporter of all things Mormon, and tithes 10% of their major income to their church.

Follow the money, not the policies which make them the money.

Just thinking. Will think somemore.

Anonymous said...

I dislike the concept of a witch hunt just because Marriott himself is a Mormon.

And that's what this is like. Lots of people work for the company, which has enlightened policies. Regardless of their motivation as a (publicly traded) firm : that's irrelevant.

t he point is they are doing the right thing, and lots of companies do not have enlightened policies and do the wrong thing. So why would we punish a company that does the right thing as a corporation and give one that doesn't do the right thing, a free ride?

Similarly, I am opposed to the witch hunt that led to the artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento resigning because he, as a personal choice, gave money to the Prop8 campaign.

Listen: if it's okay for him to be ddriven out because the liberal employer doesn't like his beliefs, why is it not okay for a conservative company to drive out a gay employee?

We cannot become that which we despise.

Choose battles wisely and with discretion.

I'm as angry as anyone else and quite possibly angrier. I won't be buying a car from Hoehn motors, or staying in any san diego hotels run by uber-homophobe Doug Manchester. But I am not going to target Marriott for doing, well, NOTHING WRONG.


Anonymous said...

I am opposed to the witch hunt that led to the artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento resigning because he, as a personal choice, gave money to the Prop8 campaign.

[I hadn't heard he'd resigned, only that he'd been exposed.]

I really don't think I have a problem w/ the latter, IT.

If you work in musical theater, fer crying out loud, and make a personal choice---as a matter of public record---which will PISS OFF (i.e., piss ON) so many people you work with/for, you oughtta know there would be backlash.

The producers of Hairspray (owners of the rights) denied the CMT rights to produce this musical, w/ him as AD. Do you not believe, IT, that they had the right to do so?

I'd feel differently, I think, if he'd been fired. But if he resigned, I think he made the right choice (now, if he REPENTS---said JCF as a Christian *g*---and supports efforts to re-legalize SSM, then I think he ought to be re-hired. Perhaps.)

Anonymous said...

if it's okay for him to be ddriven out because the liberal employer doesn't like his beliefs, why is it not okay for a conservative company to drive out a gay employee?

That's a complicated question.

First of all: is giving $ to Prop H8 JUST a "belief", or more of a behavior? (Because not all behaviors are protected: see re Sexual Harrassment, for example). Being that the CMT AD knew his gift would be a matter of public record, one could ARGUE that he made a CHOICE, knowledge of which would be detrimental to the function of his workplace (analogous to hanging KKK paraphenalia in your cubicle)

Second, there's a huge irony here. Currently, "beliefs" (i.e., RELIGION) IS protected as a status (nationwide, under the Civil Rights Law of 1964), while being gay isn't. Whether or not one believes being gay is a "choice" (we don't around here!), religion definitely IS. Why is one chosen status protected, while being gay is DISMISSED for the same reason.

Makes no feckin' sense. >:-/

Anonymous said...

We have to be better than they are, JCF. We have to treat them the way we expect to be treated.

For the guy in Sacto, of course the community and actors can decline to participate. But you may be unaware that there has been a media witch hut out here on this guy, which I find is WRONG.

I find your argument about behavior vs. belief to be semantics. Gays firing conservative = conservative firing gays. Neither is right. Individuals can decide how they want to behave, but witch hunts are ugly and unjustified. WE ARE BIGGER THAN THIS.

I am not unaware of the irony that I am lecturing Christians about this.


MarkBrunson said...

I'm not unaware of the sadness of that, IT.


Mike in Texas said...

Note that this man spoke only of his immediate family. He failed to mention other Marriott owner/operators who did contribute such as Brent Andrus.

Mike in Texas said...

There was more than a media witch hunt against the Sacramento theater person. I know of at least one author who revoked the theater's permission to perform his works as long as the contributor to Prop 8 was associated with it.

These people don't mind profiting from the talent and hard work of GLBT people. It's awfully hypocritical when they turn around and suport revoking the civil rights of GLBTs.

David said...

IT is right on the money in her comments above. Yes, we need to do effective things to overturn Prop8 and similar measures around the country.

But please, please, please, no Progressive "Circular Firing Squads," 'K ? It's one of our worst habits... :P

it's margaret said...

Hmmmm --I'm still thinking.

Yes, IT, I totally agree.

But, there is another view of a boycott, --and it is not to "punish" or change another but to decide how to conduct MY behavior.

I choose not to walk in and do business with an institution which flies a Confederate flag. My choice. When 20 years ago, there was a boycott against all things Nestles' because of what they were doing with baby formula among other things--it was not to punish local innocent merchants, but to get the necessary attention all the way up the food chain--literally. And it worked.

Think globally. Act locally. It's hard. It's messy. The boundaries and margins are not always clear. Innocent people are, indeed, affected.

But if I choose to behave and think one way on a personal level, but conduct my public and professional life in another way in order to make a living, I would consider that nothing short of wierd and all sorts of other words I cannot spell.

Mr. Marriott has chosen to fly a certain flag in his personal life which has had unintended consequences up and down the food chain of his corporate and institutional life. It's messy. The boundaries are not clear.

What I do know is this: the institution (a college) which invited me to a function at a Marriott Hotel called and said they have changed their minds and will hold the function some where else....great. Maybe. I don't know. But, I'll still be doing something else at that time --going to the local/national protest against Prop 8. Now --what good does it do to attend such a function in a State which already has discrimination written in to its Constituion and was the capital of the Confederacy and had nothing to do with Prop 8 in California?

It's not clear. It's messy. I'll be there.

Anonymous said...

Yup, all we can do is think about it, Margaret, and come to our own conclusions. I will not be boycotting Marriotts generally, though I would certainly boycott those run directly by our buddy Andrus.

I almost spat at the radio this morning when (during the obligate "what's happening with Prop8 today segment on the local NPR station), the pro-8 representative commented with barely concealed glee,

"Oh, all those marriages are null and void, like the slaves who were freed by the 13th amendment!"

You know the SOB hasn't even THOUGHT of us as human beings.


and then, there was the mention of a local restaurant in Hollywood, where the owner donated $100 to the Yes on 8 campaign, and is now facing a boycott. She is trying to offer free food and quite distraught because she "loves you people" and says her church (the Mormons) required her to donate.

And let's not forget in sheer numbers, it's the Catholic votes who put the YEs-on-8 over the top....the Mormons bankrolled the campaign, and their unholy alliance with the Catholics worked.

A fact which is causing a crisis to many good Catholics that I know. The collateral damage from this goes beyond the gay community.


Brother David said...

She is trying to offer free food and quite distraught because she "loves you people" and says her church (the Mormons) required her to donate.

I do not buy it. The LDS Church is a lot of things, but they do not require folks to donate to anything. There may have been a lot of talk in church meetings encouraging Mormons to get involved in the campaign, to put up yard signs, and especially to donate money, but there were no threats.

This woman succumbed to the peer pressure perhaps, and was not aware that her private donation would be so publicly discovered.

Anonymous said...

According to the story in today's Sacramento Bee, Scott Eckern, artistic director for the California Musical Theatre, is a Mormon with a lesbian sister:


In his statement, Eckern, who is a Mormon, said, "I am leaving California Musical Theatre after prayerful consideration to protect the organization and to help the healing in the local theater-going and creative community."

Mormon church leaders supported Proposition 8 and encouraged members to contribute time and resources to its passage.

Eckern became interested in the Mormon faith as an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1983, he received a master's of fine arts degree in acting from Brigham Young University.

He eventually landed a position teaching theater at the University of the Pacific. Eckern and wife, Paula, have three children. In an apology he issued earlier this week, he noted that he has a sister who is a lesbian, and that he loves and supports her.

Brother David said...

he noted that he has a sister who is a lesbian, and that he loves and supports her.

He helped vote away her civil rights. He put his religious beliefs ahead of his sister's welfare by helping embody religious dictates in a civil constitution in a multicultural society. And he helped engage in lies to the community to spread fear among the population to manipulate the outcome of the vote.

He seriously is self deluded!