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Marriott Continues to Cash In on Reparative Therapy. Time to Boycott?


Doug Manchester’s Hyatt hotels aren’t the only accommodations facing threats from the gays. Marriott is also making new enemies, thanks to its hosting of Exodus International’s upcoming get-together.

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality — which bills itself as a legitimate scientific enterprise, though it’s chock full of scientific deniers — will hold the 2009 NARTH Convention & Training Institute in West Palm Beach at Marriot’s hotel there next month. Yes, that’s where they teach everyone how awesome reparative therapy is! (Rooms are just $109 a night!)

And it’s got at least one email-equipped opponent furious.


Technology exec Dr. Sasha von Stahl forwards this email he sent to Bill Marriott, the hotel giant’s chief executive. We doubt it’s the only one he’ll receive.

I am appalled by Marriott International’s decision to provide
locations and thereby shelter for events of the “National Association
for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality” which considers
Homosexuality a psychological disorder which can be “cured”…

(2009 NARTH Convention & Training Institute November 20, 21, and 22,
2009 – The West Palm Beach Marriott Hotel, West Palm Beach, Florida)

You might say that NARTH are just “paying customers” for Marriott, but
I seriously doubt that Marriott would accept the annual convention of
the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as a paying guest in their convention hotels…

Hotel owners have indeed a choice and are free to pass up business
which is likely to damage the company in any way, and if Marriott
management emphasizes “diversity” as claimed here


then Marriott should make the choice of forgoing the revenue sourced
by providing shelter for an organization which effectively
disenfranchises, insults, and sidelines gay associates and customers
by branding them as “sick” against the clear opinion of any and all
serious scientists and professionals, such as the American
Psychological Association (APA)


If Marriott would like to be considered a company embracing diversity
instead of hiding behind a very hypocritical definition thereof, then
Marriott can not provide shelter for organizations engaging in the
defamation and vile mislabeling of a community Marriott supposedly

Until Marriott fulfills its commitment to diversity, events like the
one mentioned in this message will only draw widespread negative
publicity to Marriott by ways of thousands of blog posts all over the
internet, picket lines and formal protests with the Marriott logo in
good view of TV cameras, and a general avoidance by well paying guests
and companies who do not wish to be associated with the fomentation of
bias and subsequently hate.

It is my sincere hope that the profit Marriott hoped to generate from
sheltering this event will be lowered or eliminated by the cost of
added security due to the demonstrations, protests, and picket lines
this event will bring to your West Palm Beach location. It most
certainly will by the loss your company will experience due to the
avoidance of your hotels by the hundreds of thousands of internet
users who will read all the negative blog posts and press articles
leading up to this event.

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time Mariott has heard from angry gays over its involvement with NARTH. The company, which just posted a $466 million quarterly los, in 2007 dealt with Truth Wins Out over NARTH’s conference at a Dallas Marriott.

San Diego hotelier Doug Manchester sent Prop 8 supporters a $125,000 check to help the cause, and now the gays are refusing to give him any of their business — and harping on organizations (like the American Bar Association) that still do. Time to add Marriott to the list?

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  • AlanInUtah

    Yay! Another check mark on the list of companies to no longer support. This list is getting long. Pretty soon I’m not gonna be able to shop/stay anywhere without fear that I’m supporting a hate group/organization/corporation.

  • InExile

    Give them a chance to cancel the event in case they were not aware of this group being a hate group. If they allow the event to be held, we should boycott the chain and demonstrate in front.

  • B

    It’s a lot easier for a hotel chain to turn away business when it is generating a healthy profit than when it is losing almost 1/2 a billion dollars per quarter.

    Also, don’t assume that the guy accepting the booking new what NARTH does and remember that it is one thing for a hotel to not rent the rooms and another to cancel after the fact – if they canceled it after NARTH had sent out an announcement, the hotel could be sued to recover the damages the cancellation caused.

  • DelphKC

    I just texted a friend of mine who works as a hotel sales exec booking corporate events at a relatively big hotel and chain. He’s out, proud, happily gay (not a closet case is what I mean)…

    I asked him: “An ex-gay convention and training seminar wants to book at your hotel. Do you say yes or do you turn them away?”

    He texted back almost immediately: “We book and make money.”

    He’s a practical guy and I have to agree with him. These are tough times for the hotel industry, and all industries, and nobody can really afford to turn away money when they have employees and overhead to pay. So a bunch of people want to get together and say, “Yipee, we’re not gay anymore!” LoL, who cares, let them! ;^)

  • Charles Merrill

    The CEO and Chairman Bill Marriott is a devout Mormon and ten percent of his salary and profit goes to the church. He was interviewed by Mike Wallace on 60 minutes and said in 1998 he wears magic underwear. The majority of the Marriott hotels have pay for view gay and straight porno. They are typical look the other way business people.

  • charlie-o

    No big surprise. The founder of the hotel chain, J. Willard Marriott, was a devout Mormon missionary. I believe his son is now running the show. Keep that in mind next time you’re looking to book a hotel room. You might as well just stay home and send your money directly to one of the miriad of groups dedicated to ensuring that you stay put in the virtual back of the bus.

  • Norm!

    Why does the post refer to “Exodus International”? While Exodus and NARTH both promote curing gays, it doesn’t look like Exodus is affiliated with NARTH’s conference.

  • Mike

    Well, they have lost my business – fired off an email and got ride of my rewards card.

  • BrianZ

    Who the hell stays at a Marriott anyway?

  • B

    BrianZ “Who the hell stays at a Marriott anyway?”

    Well I probably have – you go on a business trip while working at a large company, and someone sets up the flights and hotel reservations for you. It’s not like I’d remember the names of the hotels they sent us to when I was going to be spending most of me time in meetings, unless something really memorable happened.

    If it is a one or two day trip, you probably don’t care anyway as long as you don’t wake up with roaches crawling over you.

  • B

    Did it occur to anyone else that Marriott could just assign gay staff to deliver food, etc., and those gay employees, if they
    so chose, could report what they heard to gay organizations,
    naturally without Marriott having a clue?

    Hint – don’t kick some group you don’t like out of town when that
    means losing a chance to spy on them! And if NARTH asks to be served only by straight employees, all the management has to say is
    “sorry, but we have to follow nondiscrimination laws”.

    Why is NARTH going to West Palm Beach, though? I thought it was supposed to be gay friendly. Wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of these ex-gays are going to be ex gays only during their refractory periods.

  • brittondale

    I worked for Marriott for nearly a decade and was open about being gay the entire time. In my experience, it was a fantastic company to work for and I never felt out of place or disrespected at any time working there. In fact, I never felt more at home. It’s the hospitality industry – it’s seething with gays.

    Marriott receives a 100% rating from HRC and offers domestic partnership benefits.

    Many, many of my friends work in sales for Marriott and I can promise you, any of them would have booked that event. It’s not the policy of a sales manager or anyone on the hotel level to make a business decision based on their personal politics, nor should they. I’d be willing to bet that the sales manager probably had little idea what this group was about. I do not know of a hotel chain that doesn’t book meetings for groups most of us probably despise – Hyatts, Starwood, Hiltons or otherwise. It isn’t a hotel’s business to judge what an organization does. They provide a service. It’s a business. And in the current state of the economy and the hit the hospitality industry has taken in the last year, the idea of declining a piece of business and potentially taking money out of the mouths of the staff at the hotel to take a stand on an issue that frankly concerns very few of them I’d imagine is absurd. I would never have asked a hotel I worked for to decline a piece of business that made financial sense to book because of my personal feelings about the group. I wouldn’t want companies declining my business because they don’t agree with me, I can’t expect anything different for others I may disagree with.

    And in regards to the Mormon comments – the Marriott family is indeed Mormon, but the only aspect of their faith you see working there is their commitment to the well being of their staff and their generosity and compassion. I’m the first to raise hell, but you guys are way off base with this one.

  • tinkerbell

    Off base? I don’t want my money going to Mormonism. I don’t want my money going to a business that caters to a group that hates us and tries to “repair” us. I vote with my money. Nothing says that we should favor Marriott over a company that has gay-friendly actions. Holiday Inn said they support equality for us and when the Illinois branch of religious hatred scheduled the “Family Research Council” at a Holiday Inn for their conference of hatred of us, we spoke out and they canceled.

    Mormons hate gays…face it. We shouldn’t support their businesses. That’s immoral!

  • GimmeABreak

    Ah. We’re supposed to boycott a hotel chain because NARTH is hosting its convention there? Meanwhile, thousands of gays and lesbians vacation in the State of Florida (Disney, Miami, Key West, etc.). Florida is one of the ONLY states that specifically bars homosexuals from adopting. So, if we really want to protest something, how about discouraging homos from vacationing in a State that totally fucks them when it comes to adopting??? Hummmm, protest a 3-day conference put on by a bunch of morons but then have the gay community spend millions of dollars vacationing in a State that won’t allow them to become parents. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  • Lex

    Is this really what we should be focusing on right now? Have any of you even taken a history class before?

    Pick your fucking battles. There are bigger fish to fry.

  • hardmannyc

    Oh, come on. Is this really an issue? This is a hotel open to the public. Anyone can book it. This knife cuts both ways: If we boycott all Marriott’s because of one silly group’s meeting, then how can we complain if a hotel chain caves into right-wing groups and doesn’t allow a gay organization to meet?

    I’d have more of a problem if they DIDN’T allow NARTH.

  • hephaestion

    It seems we should focus our anger at the Mormon church, not the Marriotts. Though I myself would never go to a Marriott. Boycotts rarely work unless they are superbly focussed or mega-huge.

  • Marybeth Robb

    Dr. Sasha von Stahl is a theif.

Comments are closed.