Marriott Corp Sponsors “Be You, With Us” Pride Month Hotel Packages

We’ve been getting a slew of press releases from various hotel and accommodations that are touting special deals during Pride season. Too many, in fact, to list here. But one caught our eye: Marriott International’s “Be You, With Us” campaign.

Launched in cities around the world that host LGBT Pride celebrations, “Be You, With Us” is gay-targeted promotion for season travel packages and hotel amenities at various Marriott properties, including Renaissance, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard and Residence Inn. It culminates with a sweepstakes offering a a $5,000 trip to Berlin, San Francisco or New York Pride in 2013.

Not too shabby.

But isn’t Marriott run by Mormons? Don’t they hate the gays? Well, yes and no.

Though Marriott is a publicly traded company, Marriott Chairman Bill Marriott is a Mormon, as are some other members of the board. (Arne Sorenson, the company’s CEO is actually Lutheran, not Mormon, and the leadership and employees are of diverse beliefs and non-beliefs.)

But Bill’s on record as supporting LGBT rights and staying out of the Proposition 8 fight.

He passed control of day-to-day operations to CEO Arne Sorenson in 2011 but a few years back Mr Marriott clarified the company’s position on his blog:

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…

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 got a point: The Marriott Marquis in New York is home to the GLAAD Media Awards and the Chicago Marriott even hosts the annual International Mr. Leather competition, hardly a Rotary Club meeting.

Of course, as a good Mormon some company leaders and major stock holders contribute substantially to the LDS Church, which may in turn use those funds to fight against marriage equality. Or it may not, depending on the pressure they feel from contributors.

And it’s your right to feel that’s tantamount to endorsing bigotry. But to us it looks like Marriott is embracing the best kind of corporate responsibility.

Photos: Marriott International


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  • Jeff

    Hyatt hosts IML in Chicago. Not Mariott. Get it right.

  • JAW

    That is one of the issues that I have with the LDS Church… They oppose a lot of things like coffee, pepsi, gambling, smoking, and the list goes on… Yet they and their followers are in all of those business’s They turn their back on things that can make money for them… yet do not support human rights.

    At least Catholic are ok with the above… indeed they encourage it BINGO!!!

  • Drake

    His tithing to the Mormon Church provides funds to fight gays.
    Just like on gay issues, Marriott hotels all have bars, rooms have mini-bars, serving and profiting from booze, opposed by Mormons.

  • Larkin

    Your patronage still puts money in the LDS churches pockets which then uses that to buy the knife to stab you in the back.

  • Kevin

    First of all, whether or not somebody tithes, whatever their religion, isn’t really any of my or anybody else’s business. Secondly (and more importantly), it’s ridiculous to insist on a total separation between your money and causes you don’t support. I can’t imagine there’s a single large, let alone publicly held, company without its fair share of employees and/or shareholders who tithe or otherwise donate to anti-gay causes. Should we then refuse to do business with every major company?

  • Carl 1

    It’s refreshing to see a religious person who understands that their faith is *their* faith and belongs in their private life, not their job. No matter his religions “official” position, he’s supported equality. On the other hand, he puts money straight into the coffers of the Mormon cult, which spends a substantial chunk of that on fighting what he’s supported! So, does that combination make him a gay ally, a gay opponent or neutral? It’s a curious question indeed.

  • F Stratford

    One tenth of his personal income goes to LDS. That’s millions of dollars. Nope. There are better hotels out there that won’t stab me in the back. I’ll stick to W or Four Seasons. Or a roach motel if I have to.

  • Ken Dahl

    As was mentioned elsewhere, Marriott has no problem selling alcohol to patrons even though it’s a major taboo in Mormonism. As far as Mormons are concerned, all money is filthy so they may as well grab what they can to build up the “Kingdom of God”.

    The outstretched arm might actually be genuine as a publicly traded company. Many Mormons struggle with the outdated policies imposed by Salt Lake City on church membership. While a dollar or two of a room rental might actually make its way to a Marriott family member, 25 cents to the Mormon church isn’t going to change public policy in America. Much more can be gained by living proud and free as a gay American. If Marriott has the best deal on hotel accomodations, take it! Live proud, live honorably, show them that gays deserve the best because they are the best patrons a hotel could have.

  • wdcguy

    It’s frustrating for the many LGBT employees at Marriott when people cannot get the separation between the Marriott family’s personal affiliation with the Mormom church and our welcoming and supporting company. The launch of this unprecedented campaign is meant specifically to try and dispel the myth that Marriott–the company is Mormon and thus secretly against us (stabbing us in the back) behind the scenes. That simply is not true. We have a rich welcoming culture within our company that translates to an honest and long-standing support for equality. Some companies may just provide lip service around things LGBT related. Marriott means it. So bookmark/favorite and throw your support behind a truly LBGT-welcoming lodging company.

  • 1equalityUSA

    For every Mormon who believes that LGBT are equal and discrimination wrong to stop tithing 10% of their earnings will hit this sleaze-bag cult in the bank account. Actions speak louder than words. When the Catholics got off on a tangent, people stopped giving tithes. That’s why the Catholics are hating on LGBT, to generate hate dollars.

  • Phillip C. Smith

    We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father regardless of our sexual orientation. He loves us equally and wants us to live in such a way that we will be able and comfortable to live with him in Heaven after our death and resurrection.
    Given beliefs which I feel have been received from and affirmed by God, I seek to understand why he has defined marriage exclusively as a union between men and women. The authorized pattern has usually been monogamy but at times plural marriage has been an alternative for some (the prophets Abraham and Moses in the Bible and some Church leaders in the 19th Century). I see nothing in the Holy Scriptures, though, that permits marriage between those of the same gender, nor between adults and children under a certain age. When, if ever, have prophets of God sanctioned something other than adult heterosexual marriage?
    The second issue of concern relates to sexual relations. I recognize that sex drives manifest themselves in different foci, adults of the opposite gender, those of the same gender, children, etc. Here again it seems to me that God, through his only begotten Son Jesus Christ and through his prophets, has held a consistent position that sexual relationship should take place only with the bounds of marriage as he ordained it. Where, if ever, have prophets of God ever approved of sex outside of traditional marriage?
    I am trying hard to develop the love for all which our Heavenly Father expects us to have. I know that the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have thought and prayed much over this issue, seeking to know and carry out the will of God in this matter. I encourage those who have trouble with the Church’s position to go directly to God with a sincere, open mind to find out what he wants them to do.

    Phillip C. Smith, Ph.D.

  • Joh

    This year the Mormons want us to think they like the gay?
    What could they possibly want from the gays this year?

  • 1equalityUSA

    Dear Dr. Smith, (Any relation to Joe Smith?) You can believe whatever you like, just keep your religious beliefs out of civil law.

  • cameron

    I’m Mormon, gay, and from Utah. you would all be surprised how gay friendly things are getting. We are just waiting for the old generation to die out haha.

Comments are closed.