Marriott Hotels is doing some damage control in the face of calls for a boycott of the chain. Bill Marriott (emphasis mine):
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.
John Aravosis at AmericaBlog responds: “First, I’m sure Domino’s and Coors probably weren’t particular anti-gay companies per se. But the people running the company gave their money to some pretty nasty conservative causes. That money came from us, their customers. And I suspect Bill Marriott, as a good Mormon, gives 10% of his gross income to the Mormon church as is required. And the Mormon church is personally responsible for taking away our rights in California. We were winning on Prop 8 until the Mormons parachuted in and dropped as much as $20 million (one estimate is that Mormons gave 77% of the entire budget the bigots had to push Prop 8). The Mormons did this to us. So I have a problem with enriching Bill Marriott so that he can enrich bigots who take away our civil rights”