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Friday, July 11, 2008

Gay boycott urged of 2 San Diego hotels

Gay rights and union advocates have begun boycotting the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego after its owner, Doug Manchester, donated $125,000 to a ballot measure that would end same-sex marriage in California, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The hotelier's contribution to the proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot struck a nerve among supporters of marriage equality.

Fred Karger, an organizer of the boycott, told the Union-Tribune, "This is someone who is giving an exorbitant amount of money to write discrimination into the Constitution for the very first time."

Activists were joined by Unite Here Local 30, which represents 4,500 San Diego-area hotel and restaurant workers.

The Manchester Grand Hyatt is not unionized, the Union-Tribune reported.

In response to the union's boycott, SignOnSanDiego reported, local "ex-gay" figure James Hartline started one of his own: He has asked Christians not to tip waiters at San Diego's unionized establishments.

Hyatt itself is considered gay-friendly. The chain earned a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Index and won 2006's PlanetOut Travel Award for Best Hotel Collection for LGBT Travelers. One of the first national hotel chains to advertise in LGBT media, Hyatt is also a sponsor of the GLAAD Media Awards.

Manchester told the Union-Tribune he decided to support Proposition 8 after being told that schools teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman could be sued for discrimination.

Despite referring to his Catholic belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, he told the Union-Tribune that his hotels and restaurants would welcome gay and lesbian clientele. (The Advocate)

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