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Should Hotels Be Legally Required to Host ‘Religious’ Hate Groups?

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Americans For Truth About Homosexuality is not, in fact, a spin-off of the Upright Citizens Brigade, though you’d be forgiven for thinking as much, because they both tell the jokes. The latest punchline from out and proud bigot Peter LaBarbera’s group? That he was discriminated against by a hotel because of his beliefs!

In a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by AFTAH, the group alleges the Holiday Inn Select outside Chicago canceled an agreement to host a 100-person event there after LaBarbera — “just being honest” — told the hotel it should expect protesters outside the event, because those damn homosexual sympathizers don’t know how to have a good time. There was no written agreement, just a verbal one, but still, LaBarbera claims the Holiday Inn is discriminating against AFTAH because of its religious beliefs against homosexuality. (AFTAH had the event at another hotel, and sure enough, the Chicago-based Gay Liberation Network showed up to protest.)

But hey, maybe the Holiday Inn can invent a Christian religious off-shoot — one that holds, as a core belief, that it will not serve pastries and dishwater coffee to hate groups.

By:           editor editor
On:           Aug 30, 2009
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 13 Comments
    • Nobody
      Nobody

      “Should Hotels Be Legally Required to Host ‘Pro-Gay’ Groups?”

      I’m not saying I agree with one side or the other, but put yourself in their shoes.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      Go ahead, sue and win, then let’s see ANY Christian owned venue lose any ability to deny anything to any group as a result. They will have to tolerate EVERYONE!!

      Aug 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petted
      petted

      The hotel is within its rights to decline to host a group if there are going to be protestors as protestors can complicate safety requirements in terms of fire evacuations and the privacy of the other customers at the hotel.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 3:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      No. 3 ยท petted: doesn’t that depend on the laws of the area?
      something more practical:
      What they should really do is to tell the Department of Homeland Security that there’s a meeting of terrorist’s going on and,since they’re still using rendition, fly the bunch of flakes of some desert and drop them off!

      Aug 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bryan
      Bryan

      This lawsuit will go nowhere. Right now, the Illinois Family Institute (a SPLC listed hate group up until a few months ago) will be hosting their convention with Huckabee in suburban chicago in october and the Gay Liberation Network is planning on protesting it. I think that this is an attempt to keep this hotel from dropping the IFI rather than to win a lawsuit. the timing is very strange as he is suing 2 years after they dropped him.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alex
      alex

      Here we have a company acting in the best-interest of LGBT people and Queerty has the gall to insult it because of “pastries and dishwater coffee”?

      Over and over Queerty posts focus on the negative. The editors must be miserable people to be around, based on their constant Debbie Downer viewpoint.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rick
      Rick

      @Bryan:

      The lawsuit does not need to go anywhere.

      The point of this was to throw a hissyfit and generate a little media.

      Done and done.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James Davis
      James Davis

      Can’t have it both ways. If we don’t want a hotel to be able to refuse an LGBT group we can’t expect them to legally be able to refuse this group. Equal rights are just that equal.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      As a former Hotel General Manager my opinion is a hotel has to protect its reputation and they have every right to refuse this hate group. In this economic climate, no hotel can afford to be boycotted because of allowing hate groups especially a large brand like Holiday Inn. This group should hold their function at a small sleazy motel with hourly rates that has no worries about national boycotts or its reputation for sponsoring hate groups.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 6:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      @James Davis: LGBT groups are NOT hate groups. Hotel managers are trained to handle potential public relation nightmares. There have been some hotels that have had their business ruined by the way these types of things have been handled. This group has no contract so they have no leg to stand on.

      Aug 30, 2009 at 6:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      #10 InExile – I’m Gay so I’m not defending LaBarbera or any other anti-LGBT group but as James Davis says, can’t have it both ways. Defining AFTAH as hate group is an opinion, isn’t it? One I would agree with, but hotels can’t be in the business of defining who gets to go there normally – I suppose an exception would be made for something super extreme – say an Al Quaida convention…. ??

      Aug 31, 2009 at 8:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kurt
      Kurt

      This group should have every right to hold a conference at a public accomodation, as this hotel is. But I’ve seen no evidence that they wre discriminated against because of their religious or political views. The hotel was happy to have their business until they “told the hotel it should expect protesters outside the event.” The matter that caused the hotel to switch was not the group’s principles but the issue of protesters.

      Aug 31, 2009 at 4:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      In Comment No. 9, InExile wrote, “As a former Hotel General Manager my opinion is a hotel has to protect its reputation and they have every right to refuse this hate group. In this economic climate, no hotel can afford to be boycotted because of allowing hate groups especially a large brand like Holiday Inn. This group should hold their function at a small sleazy motel with hourly rates that has no worries about national boycotts or its reputation for sponsoring hate groups.”

      As a former hotel general manager, one should also be aware of the laws in various states. While I’m not familiar with the specifics in Illinois, where the incident in question occurred, the California law, called the Unruh Civil Rights Act, states, “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, language spoken, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”

      You can’t comply with this law if you refuse service to a religious group even if that religious group pisses off others to the point where a protest would be staged. Based on that, and assuming Illinois laws are similar, I would presume that the hotel in question should have accommodated the religious nuts as long as they behave lawfully and appropriately at the hotel.

      In my opinion, it would be bad form for gays to boycott the hotel if the hotel allowed the religious group simply to comply with non-discrimination laws, particularly a law that also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

      I would, however, see nothing wrong with the hotel also accommodating the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the same time as the religious nuts, assuming there is room for both, and kicking out any religious nut who makes obnoxious personal comments to any of the Sisters.

      Sep 1, 2009 at 1:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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