This is interesting news, and a smart move by Marriott. With the ongoing, decades-long, Mormon war against the civil rights of African-Americans, women, Jews, and then gays, for a number of us, Mormon businesses like Marriott joined the ranks of Cracker Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Dominos as places good progressives avoid.
It seems Marriott has seen the light. Not that its founders have stopped funding the Mormon headquarters in Salt Lake City, and thus helping finance the Mormon jihad against gays and pretty much every other civil rights group in America. But at least a Mormon -founded business, with lots of Mormons inside (and until just recently, always Mormon-run), is recognizing that it doesn’t make smart business sense to go along with his own faith’s aggressively virulent bigotry. And that’s an interesting and important move.
More from the Human Rights Campaign:
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, announced today the formation of a business coalition made up of Fortune 500 and brand name companies that support ending federal discrimination against legally married gay and lesbian couples. Currently, because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), lawfully married same-sex couples are not recognized by the federal government and are thereby denied more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits — including filing taxes jointly, taking unpaid leave to care for a sick spouse, and Social Security survivor benefits — that come with marriage.
The new Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal is throwing its support behind the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals DOMA and recognizes all legal marriages for federal purposes. The Respect for Marriage Act has attracted bipartisan support. Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Charles Bass (R-NH) were among those supporting the bill in the last Congress. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have sponsored the legislation in the House and Senate, and are likely to reintroduce it in the current Congress next month.
“Marriott was founded on the principle of putting its people first, and that includes our LGBT associates,” said David Rodriguez, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Marriott International. “We are proud of our longstanding commitment to diversity, inclusion and equal treatment of all our employees within our benefits programs. Joining the Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal affirms that commitment, and we urge Congress to pass this important legislation.”
Joining Marriott as members of the Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal are: A|X Armani Exchange, Aetna Inc., Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Diageo North America, eBay Inc., Electronic Arts, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Replacements, Ltd., Sun Life Financial U.S., and Thomson Reuters. Aside from being fundamentally unfair to married same-sex couples, DOMA also causes administrative headaches and tax inequities for companies as they simply try to treat their employees fairly. The coalition continues to grow as more companies take a stand and affirm that DOMA is bad for business.
Interesting that the pro-DOMA quote doesn’t come from former CEO and current Chairman of the Board Bill Marriott himself. Sure, it comes from the HR director, which makes sense normally. But in Marriott’s unique case, I’d like to hear a little more from Bill Marriott himself about the important of gay marriage.
Another thing. When Bill Marriott stops giving 10% of his salary to the Mormons (assuming he does, like all good Mormons are supposed to), then we’ll talk about rehabilitating Marriott’s good name. As I noted in a post in 2008, when Marriott was freaking out over all the anti-Mormon publicity following the Mormon-led repeal of marriage equality in California:
Bill Marriott, the head of Marriott hotels, issued a statement yesterday, apparently out of concern that all the Prop 8 blowback was going to lead to a boycott of Marriott. Bill Marriott rightly noted that his business has a perfect rating from the Human Rights Campaign. And that’s swell. But there are a few problems with that argument.
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 (and who convert dead Jewish Holocaust victims to Mormonism without their families’ consent, among other nasty things).
It doesn’t matter if Bill Marriott didn’t give to Prop 8. He is a major donor to the Mormon Church. And they use that money to impose their religious views on others, whether you like it or not.
Second, Bill Marriott may not have given to Prop 8, but people on his staff, who run some of his hotels, did. And we pay their salaries. We pay for those donations every time we stay at a Marriott.
Bill Marriott surely knows that the Mormons are serious anti-gay activists, and that his donations to the Mormons will help fund, in part, their ongoing anti-gay hate, just like every other tithe made to the Mormons. When Bill Marriott and Marriott’s top staff stop using our money to fund hateful and intolerant people, and/or the Mormon headquarters gives up its aggressively bigoted activism, then Marriott will be forgiven. Having said that, it’s taken Coors two decades and then some to clear its good name. Marriott and the Mormons should pay attention. Once the damage is done, good luck reversing it.